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F – Personal Professional Development, further information and reading

F.1 Personal Development

Personal Professional Development is an on-going process for all Council officers, and will be part of your career while you are in local government. It is based on assessing personal needs in the context of local priorities. This is part of the Investors in People rating, which many councils now have, and is designed to improve the business of the organisation by improving the skills, awareness and capability of the staff.

Many arts officers work isolated from other officers in the same field, and local councils put great emphasis on properly training their staff. You will find a number of “in-house” courses that help your knowledge of issues such as health and safety, legislation, child protection and budgeting for example. You will also have a personal training plan, agreed with your line manager, and linked to your annual development interview, so you should agree a package of internal and external training events, as part of your plan.

Within the personal training plan, try and ensure that on-the-job training is included. Nalgao sees this rightly as an important aspiration for council-based arts officers, and it would include being able to go to regional networking meetings, seminars on issues that appropriate to your work, run by different agencies, and mentoring. nalgao, with the support of ACE Northwest, are developing a Mentoring programme Pilot for local authority arts officers in that region, which it intends to roll out nationally over the next 5 years.

F.2 Guide to useful publications

Ambitions for the Arts and Ambitions into Actions are the key publications that define the Arts Council’s priorities (and therefore for Grants for the Arts); they are available from

Also – from the Arts Council of England site –

Local Government and the arts – a vision for partnership. This sets out the priorities for partnership between local councils and the Arts Council, as:

  • The creative economy
  • Healthy communities
  • Vital neighbourhoods
  • Engaging young people

These are, therefore, the priority targets for the first phase of Partnership Agreements between local councils and ACE – see C.1 above.

Partnerships for learning: a guide to evaluating arts education projects
Designed to help organisations and individuals evaluate arts education projects. Revised and updated 2004.

There are a number of magazines that are useful for keeping in touch with other projects and trends in the arts development sector. Some may be subscription-based, but are well worth it. In particular:

Mailout (
appears every 2 months, and is the only national magazine, which aims to celebrate participatory and community arts. A number of special issues in the past work as a national snapshot account of key projects – arts and social inclusion for example, in June 2004, or arts and health in April, 2005.

Artist Newsletter (
a key source of information in the visual arts and craft field, including guidance on commissioning and contracting, and sourcing artists in the sector.

Arts Industry (
carries jobs, news articles and analysis on the visual and performing arts scene. Useful for recruiting staff, as well.

Arts Professional (
acts as a cross-artform vehicle for sharing good practice and an invaluable source of information. A fortnightly publication offering readers a diet of news, views, reviews and case studies. The magazine reaches across the entire spectrum of professional arts activity, being read by chief executives as well as managers, marketers, administrators, academics, policy makers, funders, consultants, freelances, students and commercial suppliers to the arts and cultural sector.

Lumos Burning Desires Festival
Icarus and smaller sculptures Lumos Burning Desires Festival. Iamge: Robert Rathbone

F.3 List of websites for further reference

Office of Deputy Prime Minister –
The Office is primarily concerned with Sustainable Communities, which can be delivered via arts programmes, so the site is worth going through for government funding advice:
Sustainable communities are about things that matter to people: decent homes at prices people can afford, good public transport, schools, hospitals, and shops; people able to have a say on the way their neighbourhood is run; and a clean, safe environment.

Dept of Culture, Media and Sport
DCMS is the Government department responsible for all matters relating to culture development. Arts development is administered by the Arts Council – on the “arms length” principle – whose funds are derived from DCMS.

The Local Government Association (LGA)
formed on 1 April 1997, promotes the interests of English and Welsh local authorities – a total of just under 500 authorities. These represent over 50 million people and spend around £74 billion a year on local services.

The Improvement and Development Agency –
works in partnership with all councils, to enhance the performance of the best, accelerate the speed of improvement of the rest, and develop the sector as a whole.
Directory of Social Change – – training support and organisational development for the voluntary sector.

National Network for Arts in Health
A useful reference for projects and advice on arts programmes aiming to work in collaboration with the Health sector.

nalgao is the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers, providing networking and information with local authority arts officers in 325 councils across the UK.

Arts and
works to develop creative organisations, and strengthen links with the business sector, including advising on sponsorship opportunities and campaigns.


an independent youth arts development agency committed to developing creative opportunities for young people aged 12-25.

Further useful links on the Arts Council England website ( ).

F.4 Advocacy documents

It is always very useful to be able to quote figures that show the impact of the arts on wider agendas. Here are some suggestions that may give you useful information:

The Arts in Local authorities
Local Government and the Arts – a vision for partnership can be downloaded from the Arts Council website and outlines the priorities for partnership in the future

In a survey of Local Authority spending in 2005/6, undertaken by nalgao, Arts spend by local authorities accounts for over three times its initial investment for the arts in leverage funding from other sources. In a time when Council budgets, not just the arts, are under increasing threat, it is worth remembering the leverage offered by arts investment.

Festivals and Celebrations
For local celebrations, festivals and fairs, look at The Impact of of Folk Festivals (2004) which contains evidence of the economic and social impact of these events, appropriate to a number of open-air projects. You could also look at Festivals and the Creative Region, a 2003 study of the cultural festivals in the East Midlands.

Social Inclusion and Regeneration
Health and Policy Action team report 10 is a Government publication that shows the impact of the arts (and sport) on neighbourhood renewal.  ( )

Use or Ornament – the social impact of participation in the arts –

Written by Comedia in 1997, this is one of the most exhaustive documents on the impact on communities of participative projects, and is still widely quoted.

The Art of Inclusion, 2004 presents a range of case studies from a 3-year research project on social inclusion and the arts. Also on the Arts Council of England website.

Arts in Health – a review of the medical literature. is a series of studies up to 2004 on the relationship between the arts and healthcare. The studies illustrate the impact of the arts on good health, improving the patient experience and reducing stress, fear and pain levels.

“Fewer than six” is a study of creativity in regeneration of specific neighbourhoods, commissioned by Yorkshire Arts from eventus, a Sheffield-based arts agency. Available on

Growth in Arts Attendances and Participation
In Arts in England,  a study, of attendance, participation and attitudes in 2003, carried out by Social Survey Division of the Office for National Statistics, a range of useful figures that illustrate significant growth in attendance and participation in carnival, dance, drama, festivals, literature and music, including:

  • 79% of people agree that ‘Arts and cultural projects should receive public funding’
  • 22% of people had visited a visual arts exhibition or event that year

Peepul Centre, Leicester
Courtesy: Peepul Centre, Leicester

Cultural Tourism
The Scottish Executive has a useful review of the evidence base for the arts, including (chapter 10) Cultural Tourism from across the world, and the UK, based on major cultural events.

Rural Arts
The National Rural Touring Forum commissioned Only Connect a study of the social impact of rural touring on local communities which illustrates the range and diversity of rural arts work in the UK. Available from

The Arts Council site also contains a comprehensive review of The Arts and rural England. A number of the case studies illustrate the range of arts initiatives in small towns and villages across the UK.

And, finally, a useful quote:

“An authority which fails to value the power of and need for Cultural Services is one which will struggle to meet the needs and aspirations of its local communities.”
Derrick Anderson, Chief Executive, London Borough of Lambeth.