A review of the criteria for tracking the nation’s wellbeing sees arts participation included for the first time.

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People’s engagement in the arts is for the first time to be recognised as one of the factors that contributes to wellbeing in the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Measuring National Wellbeing Programme.  A new report reviewing the criteria used to measure wellbeing in the UK reveals that questions on arts, culture and sports participation have been the most commonly requested additions to the survey.
The programme will use figures taken from the DCMS Taking Part Survey, specifically the measurement of the percentage of people who have engaged with or participated in arts or cultural activity at least three times in the past year. The measure ‘Percentage [of people] who were somewhat, mostly or completely satisfied with their use of leisure time’ has been removed, and a new category for sports activity has also been included. The decision follows ongoing lobbying to have cultural activity included as a measure in the Wellbeing Programme, which was conceived in 2010 as a complement to the use of GDP to track the nation’s progress.  The ONS had claimed that there was a lack of available data to enable them to include arts and sports activity but “have been convinced by the weight of evidence in favour of including measures to reflect these areas”.