Each year, DCMS publishes its creative industries economic estimates. They are something of a gold standard on the economic performance of the sector. This year, in addition to publishing the estimates, DCMS consulted on how their economic reporting may evolve.
We responded to this consultation. Our response covered issues such as the creative economy, microbusinesses, productivity, export of creative goods, creative intensity within different economic sectors, sub-national data, and now-casting. It was, therefore, a wide ranging consultation.
The outcomes of the consultation are likely to have public policy implications. For example, while DCMS have consistently reported on the export of creative services, they intend to extend this reporting to creative goods, which will inform the work of UKTI, as they seek to support creative businesses in growing UK exports.
As Andy Burnham announces his candidacy to be Greater Manchester’s first elected mayor, devolution appears to be gathering pace. If we want the creative and cultural sector to be fully part of this process, we would be assisted by DCMS and ONS improving sub-national data.
In November last year, we launched a major report in association with Core Cities UK on the future of culture in UK cities. When undertaking this research, we found it surprisingly hard to find data on culture in cities. The adage about you can’t change what you can’t measure probably holds true here. We asked whether it would make sense to improve national data collection, to assist local benchmarking and decisions.
The focus on sub-national data collection in the DCMS consultation is a welcome step toward such an improvement. We often find, however, that the biggest economic impacts of culture spill well beyond the sectors that are defined as creative by the creative intensities methodology, which also features in the DCMS consultation.
Much of the £1.1bn GVA increase over the next decade, that we reported will be experienced in Cardiff, as a result of the relocation of the BBC Wales HQ, will be experienced outside sectors defined as creative by this methodology. As much as the issues consulted upon by DCMS have the potential to improve measurement of the creative industries, we need to go further to understand not just the economic performance of these industries, but how this performance catalyses improved performance beyond the creative sector.
You can download our full response to the DCMS consultation here.