Performance indicators: measuring the contribution of culture and sport to children and young people

These are suggestions of how to measure the contribution of culture and sport to better outcomes for children and young people.

Not all of these suggestions will be relevant to your local outcomes, though producing a local framework will help you respond to the Localism agenda, which relies on local authorities producing their own performance framework as national indicators have reduced.

You should select a small number of indicators from across the different levels that together best measure the contribution of culture and sport to your service, intermediate and overarching strategic outcomes. You should draw on available data from existing sources within your local council and elsewhere wherever possible.

A step-by-step guide to selecting performance indicators

Overarching strategic outcome indicators

These are high-level non-cultural or sport indicators that you want to demonstrate, and can evidence, culture and sport contribute towards. Your overarching strategic outcome indicators should reflect those found in high-level documents that set out the overall responsibilities of your local council and its major partners.

Some of these indicators are drawn from the Public Health Outcomes Framework, 'A framework of outcomes for young people' and the PASS Survey

Examples include:

  • proportion of children aged 4 to 5 and 10 to 11-years-old classified as overweight or obese
  • under-18 conception rate
  • Rate of 10 to 17-year-olds receiving their first reprimand, warning or conviction
  • attainment at ages 16 and 19
  • percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds who are not in education, training or employment (NEET)
  • percentage of 16-year-olds on National Citizen Service
  • young people's participation in positive activities.

Intermediate outcome indicators

These should include indicators that reflect the specific contribution of culture and sport to the intermediate outcomes.

Examples include percentage of:

  • children and young people who agree that participation in a culture or sport project, activity or event has helped them feel happier about coming to school, or helped improve their concentration or behaviour, or helped them be more interested in classes or do better at school
  • children and young people who agree that participation in a culture or sport project, activity or event has given them the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and skills, or helped them feel more confident or positive about themselves
  • young people who agree that participating, volunteering or training opportunities in culture and sport projects, activities or events helped them get into or stay in education, training or employment
  • children and young people who agree that participation in a culture or sport project, activity or event has helped them feel healthier, stronger, fitter or happier 
  • children and young people who agree that participation in a culture or sport project, activity or event has helped them do something positive in their free time or stay out of trouble 
  • parents, carers or teachers who agree that participation in a culture and sport project, activity or event is improving children's social interaction or skills.

Intermediate outcome indicators may also include non-cultural or sporting indicators that are short to medium-term ‘proxy' measures for the overarching strategic outcomes.

Examples include:

  • emotional wellbeing of looked-after children
  • child development at aged 2-2.5 years
  • school readiness (early years development)
  • percentage of young people participating in regular volunteering
  • achievement of children at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage profile.
  • pupil absence: percentage of half-days missed by pupils due to overall absence. 

Service outcome indicators

These are indicators specific to culture and sport.

Examples include:

  • percentage of children and young people:
    - regularly participating in culture or sport
    - taking part in competitive sport
    - regularly volunteering  in culture or sport
    - in formal or informal cultural and sport learning opportunities who achieve accreditation or qualifications
    - satisfied with culture and sport provision in their area
  • percentage of play spaces and facilities with high scores for location, play value and care and maintenance. 

Where possible, indicators should be broken down further, for example, by geographic area or target wards or by specific groups, such as different age groups or disadvantaged or vulnerable groups. They can also be broken down to differentiate in-house, commissioned or external provision.

Service output indicators

These indicators are also specific to culture and sport.

Examples include:

  • number of:
    - children aged 0 to five participating in organised informal culture and sport learning activities
    -16 to 18-year-olds participating in culture and sport activities
    - children and young people participating in culture and sport programmes during the school holidays
    - young people at risk of offending engaged in positive activities
    - young people regularly volunteering in culture and sport
    - children and young people satisfied with specific culture and sport facilities, services or events
    - young people in employment, education or training with local culture and sport businesses or providers
    - young people gaining a recognised culture or sport accreditation or qualification
  • net expenditure on culture and sport provision per head of population.

Where possible, indicators should be broken down further, for example, by geographic area or target wards or by specific groups, such as different age groups or disadvantaged or vulnerable groups. They can also be broken down to differentiate in-house, commissioned or external provision.


Page updated March 2012.

22 July 2015

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