Arts and culture to be included in ONS well-being measures

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Engagement with the arts and culture is to be included for the first time as one of the measures used by government to calculate the UK’s sense of well-being.

The Office for National Statistics is to use responses from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part Survey – which details consumption of and participation in the arts and culture – in response to public demand for their inclusion in the Measuring Well-being Programme.

Launched in 2010, the programme’s original assessment criteria included the arts within the broader measure of “satisfaction with leisure time”. That factor has now been removed (along with “trust in parliament”) and replaced by separate measures for the arts and culture, participation in sport and three other new indicators relating to services, accommodation and recycling.

The changes come in response to a review of a public consultation between October 2011 and January 2012 and subsequent feedback with the ONS declaring itself “convinced by the weight of evidence in favour of including measures to reflect these areas.”