Analysis of Victorian local government cultural development plans

Cultural policy Local government Strategic planning Cultural development Victoria
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Cultural development planning is a relatively new practice for professionals in local government in Australia. Yet councils are increasingly investing in cultural development activity to assist in achievement of their goals to improve the overall quality of life of citizens in their communities. This report presents the findings of an assessment of 24 cultural development plans published by councils across Victoria, based on their alignment with principles in CDN’s Framework for Cultural Development Planning. Findings indicated that the plans largely did not use principles concordant with the Framework, with clear objectives and theory of change principles present least often. Other trends observed included activities being stated as objectives, instances of plans being too complex, too long, and too ambitious given available resources. No discernable difference in quality was evident between plans written by consultants and council staff. The article concludes with recommendations for improved planning, which include evidence-based practice, clear articulation of Council goals and objectives for cultural development activity, and evaluation strategies to assess plans and activities.

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