If we want to make our case effectively to local and national politicians, it is important to understand how arts and culture promote their broader objectives.

The government sees the cultural sector playing an important role in building communities, driving economic growth, showcasing the best of Britain on the international stage, boosting tourism, supporting education and creating employment. In turn, these are also reasons often cited by local authorities for investing in arts and culture.

Your influencing work will be most effective if it demonstrates how your organisation is contributing in these key areas.

Building communities

'The most vibrant town centres offer a wide range of locally responsive services that create a comprehensive retail, cultural and community hub.' Local Government Association response to the Portas Review of high streets.

The government has made clear that arts and culture have an important role in bringing communities together.

Can you demonstrate the social benefits of the work that you do?

For example, Wakefield's Hepworth Gallery offers outreach workshops to children, people with special needs and others in their local community in West Yorkshire.

Driving economic growth

'The Digital and Creative Industries (D&CI) have the potential to drive significant growth in the UK. Their exports are third only to advanced engineering and financial and professional services.' The Government's Plan for Growth, 2011

Arts and culture are seen as important drivers of economic growth. In its Plan for Growth (2011) the Government outlined a raft of measures to support the creative industries, including changes to copyright and music licensing regulations.

Can you demonstrate the ways in which your organisation has contributed to the local or national economy?

For example, the Nottingham Contemporary gallery has been cited by local retail businesses as a key factor in their decision to invest in the city.

Find out more about the government's Plan for Growth

Showcasing the best of Britain on the international stage

Chancellor George Osborne has emphasised the importance of equipping Britain to 'win in the global race'.

In an increasingly competitive world, arts and culture have a crucial role to play in showcasing the best of Britain on the world stage. The Olympic opening ceremony was watched by around 1 billion viewers worldwide. Visit Britain reported that creativity, heritage and culture were the only indicators to show a unanimously positive impact on perceptions of Britain overseas as a result of the Games.

Can you demonstrate how your work has showcased British creative industries internationally?

Boosting tourism

'Our tourism industry helps us sell Britain; helps contribute to economic growth, and drive investment'. Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture

We know that art and culture play a significant role in attracting tourism. West End musical theatre and classical music was responsible for £67 million of spend by tourists last year. In one survey 38 per cent of overseas residents said that they would attend the theatre, opera or ballet on a trip to the UK.

At a local level, museums, galleries and other cultural venues bring people into the area from nearby areas as well as further afield. This can have a major economic impact on other local businesses, such as shops, hotels and bars. 

Can you demonstrate how your work contributes to local or national tourism?

For example: Anvil Arts in Basingstoke recently commissioned an independent survey which showed that the organisation - which runs a concert hall and a theatre - generates over £6 million of spending in the town every year. This represents a five-fold return on the grant Anvil receives from by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Supporting education

'For me, artistic and creative subjects are central to a broad and balanced education.' Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education.

We know that exposure to culture plays a vital role in strengthening curiosity, aspiration and attainment in young people. The government has committed to developing a National Plan for Cultural Education, and has made £15 million available over the next three years to ensure that all pupils can engage in a variety of cultural activities.

Many galleries and museums will be centres for schools trips and will be able to demonstrate to local MPs and Councillors that they are a key part of local education services.

Can you show how your organisation benefits children and young people?

For example, museums across the country, led by the Imperial War Museum, will lead our commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War, including education projects for children across the country.

Find out more about Darren Henley's review of cultural education
Find out more about Darren Henley's review of music education

Incubating talent for the creative industries

Investment in talent at all life stages has its benefit for the economy in the spill-over from the subsidised to the commercial sector.  An ongoing Arts Council study shows 87 per cent of those working in the theatre sector have worked in subsidised theatre at some point.  Many smaller arts organisations will have fostered talent which has gone on to make an impact at a national or global level.

For example, Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle both began their careers in the subsidised sector. Daldry was an apprentice at The Crucible in Sheffield before becoming Artistic Director at the Royal Court. Boyle worked at Joint Stock and then at the Royal Court.

Can you demonstrate how your work helps foster the talent which makes Britain's creative industries world class?

Creating employment

'The UK is genuinely world-leading in the creative and cultural industries. But they don't exist in a vacuum - they are fed by the exceptional talent and ground-breaking imagination that is nurtured in our arts and design schools.'  Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Employment in the creative and cultural sector is expected to grow by a third by 2020, compared to just 6 per cent growth in other areas. The Arts Council recently launched the Creative Employment Programme to create 6,500 pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and internships over the next three years.

In addition, the arts and cultural sector feeds ideas and talent into other areas of the economy, such as retail, engineering and manufacturing. Perhaps your organisation has fostered ideas and talent which have been picked up by other local businesses. Or you may have worked directly with other businesses in your area.

Can you demonstrate how your organisation has contributed towards creating employment?

For example, Baltic 39 has created a substantial space in renovated warehouses in Newcastle City Centre, including a gallery and 32 artist studios. Northumbria University's Vice Chancellor Andrew Wathey described it as: 'a pipeline where we can see students move into the profession'.

Find out more about the Arts Council's Creative Employment Programme

Further reading

For more detailed information on the Government's priorities for arts and culture, download the Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2012-15 business plan.