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Community Indicators for Culture and the Arts. Prof Mike Salvaris Cultural Development Network Forum 8 May 2006. The Victorian Community Indicators project …. a 2 year project funded by VicHealth working with local governments across Victoria

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Community indicators for culture and the arts

Community Indicators for Culture and the Arts

Prof Mike SalvarisCultural Development Network Forum8 May 2006

The victorian community indicators project
The Victorian Community Indicators project …

  • a 2 year project funded by VicHealth

  • working with local governments across Victoria

  • to develop better measures and plans for well-being in their local communities

  • and better ways to engage their local citizens in the process

Summary of presentation
Summary of presentation

  • Project partners and management

  • Key goals, tasks and outcomes

  • Background: what led to this project?

  • Community indicators: what they are?

  • Developing a ‘whole community’ wellbeing framework, and how to use it

  • Engaging citizens: why and how

  • Results so far

  • Project milestones

  • Visit our website:

Project partners
Project Partners

  • VicHealth (funder)

  • Victorian Local Governance Association

  • Municipal Association of Victoria

  • Victoria University

  • Swinburne University Lilydale

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics

  • Partner Councils (10)

Partner councils
Partner Councils

  • Bendigo

  • Hobson’s Bay

  • Knox

  • Maroondah

  • Moreland

  • Port Philip

  • Surf Coast

  • Wellington

  • Wodonga

  • Yarra Ranges

Project reference committee
Project Reference Committee

  • Partners

  • Premier’s Department

  • Department of Victorian Communities

  • Department of Human Services

  • Department of Infrastructure

  • Department of Sustainability & Environment

  • Victorian Council of Social Service

Key goals of vci project
Key goals of VCI Project

  • Better ways to measure, understand and set goals for local progress and wellbeing

  • Better local statistics & statistical capacity, & better documenting of need

  • ‘Whole of community’ planning reflecting community vision

  • Stronger citizen engagement and local democracy

  • Strengthened communities

  • ‘Best practice’ model for Loc. Gov. (Democratic Reform) Act

  • Better Statewide planning, local Community Plans as building blocks

  • Build changes permanently & sustainably into government

Key project tasks and outcomes
Key project tasks and outcomes

  • Statewide local wellbeing measurement framework

  • Best practice local statistics

  • Guidelines and new models for community engagement and local democracy

  • Model local Community Survey (replacing Community Satisfaction Survey)

  • 10 Best Practice models for Community Planning

  • Agreed links between state and local planning

  • Ongoing training and materials

  • Outstanding website

Background and context
Background and context

  • Search for wellbeing measures beyond GDP

  • Worldwide community indicators movement

  • Need to strengthen democracy and community engagement

  • VicHealth local work on health & wellbeing

  • Changing role of Local Gov’t in Victoria

  • Community strengthening policy growing

  • Strategic state development policies

  • Joined up government and planning

  • Victorian models: need to spread learning

Key ideas #1Making the future, not ‘letting it happen’

The future does not just happen to us; we ourselves create it by what we do and what we fail to do. It is we who are making tomorrow what tomorrow will be.

For that reason, futurists think not so much in terms of predicting the future as in terms of trying to decide wisely what we want the future to be.”

Edward Cornish, US futurist

Key ideas #2

Economic, social and environmental well-being are interdependent

We have failed to see how our economy, our environment and our society are all one and that delivering the best quality of life for us all means more than concentrating on economic growth …

Achieving a better quality of life, now and for future generations to come means meeting four simultaneous objectives:

  • Effective protection of the environment

  • Prudent use of natural resources

  • Social progress that meets the needs of everyone

  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment

    Tony Blair, ‘A Better Quality of Life’

Key ideas 3 measuring what matters
Key ideas #3Measuring what matters

Indicator case studies overseas
Indicator Case Studies: overseas

  • United Nations – Indicator Framework

  • OECD – PSR model and reporting framework

  • UK – A Better Quality of Life: A Strategy for Sustainable development in the UK

  • Jacksonville Indicators

  • Sustainable Seattle

  • Canterbury Quality of Life Indicators Program, NZ

  • Christchurch City Council, NZ

  • and ….

Indicator case studies local
Indicator case studies: local

  • Measuring Australia’s Progress (ABS)

  • Tasmania Together

  • Genuine Progress Indicator (Aust Institute)

  • Newcastle (NSW)

  • Cities of Onkaparinga, Marion (SA)

  • Victoria – Outer Eastern Melbourne, Surf Coast, Wodonga, Port Philip, Moreland, Wyndham etc

Related victorian initiatives
Related Victorian initiatives

  • New Local Government Act

  • Four Year Council Plans and Resource Plans

  • Rationalisation of the number of plans

  • Role of Local Government in Community Strengthening

  • Growing Victoria Together, Fairer Victoria

  • Changing the Way Government Works

  • State Co-ordinating and Management Committee


  • statistics that measure some important issue or policy goal

  • monitored over time to determine a trend towards or away from a goal

  • inform the community

  • contribute to public debate

Community well being indicators
Community Well-being Indicators

  • measure overall wellbeing of community

  • in all areas of importance to the community

  • not a measure of council performance,

  • but important to councils to understand and change where they can

  • not an end in themselves, but

  • a means to inform and focus whole community action and planning

Developing a local wellbeing framework
Developing a Local Wellbeing Framework

  • Project will develop a common framework from existing local frameworks (including Leading the Way) and surveys etc

  • This will provide standard, good quality data for councils and communities

  • Starting point is agreement on most important fields (pillars) and key outcomes

  • Indicators then developed from these (not vice versa)

Key pillars of wellbeing framework
Key ‘pillars’ of wellbeing framework

Include indicators of wellbeing in 6 key fields (pillars):

  • Economic

  • Social

  • Cultural

  • Built environment

  • Natural environment

  • Governance and community engagement

Examples of outcome areas


Local economic output

Income levels

Local employment



Sense of community

Perceptions of safety


Ethnic diversity

Whole of life learning

Cultural participation

Built environment

Roads, footpaths


Community facilities

Natural environment

Waste production

Air and water quality

Amount of open space


Voting levels

% Women councillors

Citizen participation

Examples of outcome areas

Selecting the best indicators
Selecting the best indicators

  • Reflect important community issue or goal

  • Link to strategic Community Plan

  • Reliable data source, available as time series

  • Meaningful and sensitive to change

  • Summary in nature

  • Assist targets, provide benchmarks

  • Show trends over time

Wellbeing measures and democracy
Wellbeing measures and democracy

  • What makes a healthy democracy?

  • Trust

  • The value of local democracy

  • How citizens can participate

  • Issues for local government

Community engagement key issues for local government
Community Engagement: key issuesfor local government

  • Understanding the community better

  • Auditing & feedback from current CE processes

  • Improving Council skills and capacity in CE

  • Setting clear goals & success measures for CE

  • Making CE meaningful … and fun

  • Special processes for ‘excluded citizens’

  • Best use of existing networks and resources

  • CE must be properly resourced

How lg s use indicators now
How LG’s use indicators now

  • Scan of 77 Council plans and community well-being indicators from 6 Councils

  • 43 Council Plans use sustainability or TBL

  • 19 plans refer to a Community Vision

  • Community Satisfaction Survey used for indicators by 51 councils

  • Indicators sometimes difficult to identify

  • Some linked to Community Plans – some not

  • Not always available on Council websites

  • 181 separate indicators used by one or more of the six Councils

Some key practical issues
Some key practical issues

  • How to ensure that all councils have the right information – and the systems for analysing and using it effectively.

  • How to enable data sharing between and across the state government and local government sectors.

  • How to make information about local strategies, targets and performance more accessible and meaningful to local people.

  • How community views can be reflected in the indicators.

Key practical issues cont d
Key practical issues (cont’d)

  • The extent to which state government may wish to prescribe indicators and measures.

  • How to handle proposals for new measures and indicators and avoid duplication.

  • How to help improve the accessibility of existing information.

  • How to build on existing information systems and extend them.

  • How to ensure robust means of assuring data quality.

Progress and milestones
Progress and milestones

  • Jan - July 2005

    • Stock take of existing Victorian local government and community indicators

    • Overview of current Local, State, Commonwealth Initiatives

    • Set up website

    • Statewide forums

    • Partner Council program and workshop

  • September 2005

    • Draft framework

    • Data set gaps identified

  • December 2005

    • Agreed framework

  • June 2006

    • Agreed plan for ongoing development and use of community well-being indicators

Project website
Project website:

  • Regular progress reports

  • ‘Best practice’ models

  • Partner Council information

  • Links to other good sites