Designing a model to estimate the Social and Economic Value of Public Libraries, Museums, Arts and Sport in Northern Ireland

Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure,
11 September 2007, Northern Ireland

Given the tightening fiscal environment across all regions of the UK and the stated priorities of Government in the areas of health, education and the development of the infrastructure, there is significant pressure on all Departments to justify their current levels of funding. In addition, there is little appreciation outside this sector of the economic and social benefits that cultural activity (in its broadest sense) can deliver for society. In recent years, increased efforts have been made by Government in the UK to highlight the importance of the cultural sector.

It is within this context that Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers, as a first step, to identify the potential benefits that can arise from its four key business areas that include: sports; arts; museums; and, libraries.

The study is divided into two phases, as follows:
• Phase 1: is centred on designing a conceptual framework that would estimate the value of these benefits and any gaps in data that would hinder the practical development of a model.
• Phase 2: involves developing and populating a model to demonstrate, in quantifiable financial terms wherever possible, the benefits / impact of Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure expenditure and activities.

This two phased approach recognises that data gaps may exist and the development of a model may be subject to the outcome of Phase 1 which seeks to determine the existing evidence base. This report covers Phase 1 and presents the evidence on the economic and social benefits that have been collated from the research exercise.