Arts Council England published our refreshed strategy - Great art and culture for everyone, which sets out our continuing commitment to our mission across arts, libraries and museums. At the heart of our strategy are our five goals.

It brings together our responsibilities across the arts and culture and aims to set out a clear vision of what success will look like, and how we intend to measure progress towards our goals.

With this in mind we have been working with the arts and cultural sector to integrate quality principles and a set of metrics, which allows us to measure the value and impact of our investments in regard to Goal 1: Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries and Goal 5: Raising the standard of work being produced by, with and for children and young people.


Quality Metrics has been developed through two pilots led by a consortium of arts and cultural organisations.

The first pilot was supported with funding from the Arts Council and delivered in two stages. The first stage facilitated development of the framework, testing of the concept, and the formulation of an initial set of metrics. Stage of the project enabled the consortium to refine the metrics and test them in practice across eight events. 

Read the reports from the first pilot here

The second pilot was funded through the Big Data strand of the Nesta, Arts Council, AHRC Digital R&D fund for the arts. The application requested funding towards a national pilot that would further develop the metrics themselves, the online platform and the technology that supports them.

Read the report from the second pilot here

A national test phase

Following two successful pilot projects, the Quality Metrics are now ready to be tested across a broader number of organisations. In 2015/16 150 National Portfolio Organisations and Major Partner Museums will have the opportunity to test the Quality Metrics framework.

Find out more about this test phase and how you can be involved here.

About Quality Metrics

Quality Metrics is a sector-led project that uses self, peer and public assessment to capture the quality of arts and cultural work. It has the potential to offer arts and cultural organisations greater insights into what people value about their work, as well as allowing them to benchmark against similar organisations.

The information produced by the Quality Metrics project should help organisations to evidence the quality of their work to funders and stakeholders, whilst also helping everyone to talk about quality in a more consistent and confident way.

For more information about the Quality Metrics work to date, please read our brief Q&A.

What is the Quality Metrics project?


We hope that the outcomes of the Quality Metrics project will help us to become better investors; help arts and culture organisations to strategically plan for future challenges and help us all tell a richer story about the value of arts and culture.

What are the Quality Metrics?

The Quality Metrics themselves are a core set of statements developed by arts and cultural organisations that describe the components of quality artistic and cultural work.

The statements are open source and free for anyone to use.

The Core Quality Metrics

Self, peer and public:

  • Concept: it was an interesting idea
  • Presentation: it was well produced and presented
  • Distinctiveness: it was different from things I've experienced before
  • Challenge: it was thought-provoking
  • Captivation: it was absorbing and held my attention
  • Enthusiasm: I would come to something like this again
  • Local impact: it is important that it's happening here

Self and peer only:

  • Originality: it was ground-breaking
  • Risk: the artists/curators really challenged themselves with this work
  • Excellence: it is one of the best examples of its type that I have seen 

Quality principles for working with children and young people

Understanding and articulating the quality of the work that organisations deliver by, with and for children and young people is an important part of the Arts Council's remit. 

CYP Quality Principles is a set of common principles for achieving quality in work by, with and for children and young people.

The seven quality principles are:

1. striving for excellence

2. being authentic

3. being exciting, inspiring and engaging

4. ensuring a positive, child-centred experience

5. actively involving children and young people

6. providing a sense of personal progression

7. developing a sense of ownership and belonging

The potential for collaboration between the Quality Principles and Quality Metrics led the Arts Council to commission Re:Bourne Ltd to work with John Knell and a group of individuals who have been actively involved in the development of the CYP Quality Principles to undertake development work on a set of metrics suitable for participatory work by, with and for children and young people. Read more about the outcomes of this project.

Working alongside the Quality Principles project, the national test phase of the Quality Metrics project will also further develop and test this set of metrics suitable for work produced by, with and for children and young people.

Find out more about Quality principles for children and young people