The Swedish Agency for Public Management
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The follow-up and evaluation system of the cultural collaboration model – a review (2018:15)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has conducted a review of the system for follow-up and evaluation of the cultural collaboration model.

Statskontoret considers that the current follow-up and evaluation system is reasonably designed at a general level against the background of the intentions that form the basis of the cultural collaboration model. We believe that it is reasonable that both the Swedish Arts Council and county councils follow up on the grants that they distribute. It is also appropriate that the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis, which is independent of the grant system, performs analyses and evaluations of the model.

At the same time, Statskontoret considers that there is scope for simplifications and improvements with a view to making the follow-up and evaluation system more effective.

Statskontoret's review shows that the Swedish Arts Council collects a very extensive volume of information. We believe that the follow-up, especially compared with other follow-up systems, generates a lot of nationally-based information and knowledge, but that some of the data collected is of poor quality. Statskontoret suggests that the Swedish Arts Council simplify follow-up and prioritise the reliability and comparability of the data. Statskontoret believes that this is particularly true of the follow-up performed by the Swedish Arts Council in the form of open questionnaires targeted at county councils. Development work is also under way on the Culture Database (Kulturdatabasen) in respect of the quantitative data that the Swedish Arts Council collects. Statskontoret considers it important that this work should continue.

Statskontoret believes that the Swedish Arts Council should clarify the purpose of the follow-up, as many people we interviewed consider this to be unclear. In this context, the role played by follow-up in the distribution of subsidies should also be explained. We believe that follow-up should serve primarily to create a knowledge base that can be used for additional analyses and not as a direct basis for the awarding of subsidies. The Swedish Arts Council should tone down the controlling ambitions.

The follow-up and evaluation activities performed by the county councils, in addition to the data they submit to the Swedish Arts Council, vary significantly in terms of their scope. Statskontoret considers it important that county councils follow up on their own culture plans.

The Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis has performed evaluations of different aspects of the cultural collaboration model. There are many indications that these maintain a good level of quality. Statskontoret believes, however, that it requires significant resource initiatives in order to evaluate the model in its entirety, and therefore believes that the government should withdraw the requirement that the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis must perform ongoing evaluations of the cultural collaboration model. Nor does it appear meaningful to perform evaluations of the model at short intervals, as the distribution of funds has been fairly stable over time. Statskontoret suggests instead that the government should commission the agency to perform evaluations of the model on special occasions. Other aspects of the cultural collaboration model can be highlighted in other assignments that the agency has under its instructions.

Statskontoret believes that the follow-up and evaluation system should be developed to provide better base data for reviews of activities. We believe that this can take place by means of the Swedish Arts Council conducting more in-depth analyses of its awarding of subsidies and the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis to a greater extent providing base data that can be used for reviews of the cultural collaboration model and the distribution of subsidies at both national and regional level.