Museums, libraries and archives contribute to positive outcomes for communities. The 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act shifted local government performance management from a service based to an outcome based framework. This is a major opportunity for the whole sector to demonstrate its value to communities in terms of place shaping and improving quality of life in local areas. The challenge is to be clear about what the contribution of museums, libraries and archives is, and to be able to include this within local, service and institutional performance management frameworks.
To help the sector achieve this MLA has developed the Outcomes Framework. This sets out, against The National Indicator set for Local Authorities and Local Partnerships (PDF 293KB), where museums, libraries and archives have the greatest impact. In doing this, it identifies where the sector adds value in its own right, and thus strengthens the case for investment in museums, libraries and archives.
The Outcomes Framework (v2)(PDF 233KB) includes evidence of impact, and best practice, as well as suggestions for indicators that can be used. Once you have identified those outcomes which your service seeks to contribute to, you can use this tool to construct or modify a performance management framework that supports your aims and objectives. Supporting case studies by theme are also available.
Improvement support resources will help you to identify your needs.
Local Area Agreements
The new performance framework means that local authorities are now no longer assessed on the quality of the services they provide, but on the outcomes that they and their partners deliver in the local area. The outcomes are drawn from The National Indicator set for Local Authorities and Local Partnerships. Local areas choose 35 indicators which most closely relate to the priorities of the area, and set targets for them, against which performance is judged. This is the Local Area Agreement (LAA)
Two indicators in the National Indicator Set relate to local participation in libraries and in museums and galleries, but museums, libraries and archives make many other vital contributions to the outcomes. The LAA is about the outcomes delivered in an area, and if museums, libraries and archives are seeking to contribute to that area, then they should see how they can contribute to the priorities in the LAA. Museums, libraries and archives which are directly provided or receive funding from councils should be seeking to fit their activity with LAA priorities as a matter of course but this agenda is relevant for all museums, libraries and archives, not just local authority provided institutions.
The sector already has a proud record in delivering for communities, and the Outcomes Framework case studies (PDF 105KB) provide some examples of best practice.
Performance Indicators in 2007/08 (PDF 253KB) are a range of performance indicators and targets that have been used by the sector across the country to secure its place in LAAs.
MLA London/Arts Council
Delivering Local Area Agreements: the contribution of cultural activity (PDF 540KB)
Delivering Local Area Agreements: research digest (PDF 530KB)
MLA South West
Museums, Libraries and Archives: delivering outcomes in the South West (PDF 1.10MB)
Culture South East
The Culture and Sport Toolkit for Local Area Agreements
Seeking advice and guidance relating to performance improvement and delivering outcomes for local communities?
Index of helpful websites (PDF 88KB)