Schema of inputs and output of cultural development activity

About the Data Schema

This data schema was developed by local government across Australia to report headline items of local government’s contribution to the cultural life of Australians.

In 2014, the National Local Government Cultural Forum (Cultural Forum) identified that limited data existed about the contribution local governments (LG) makes to the cultural life of Australians.  To address this, members of the Forum initiated a project to define and report the scope and quantity of council-led cultural investment and activity.

Throughout 2014 and 2018 a input and output schema was developed and trialed. Contributors included the Cultural Development Network on behalf of the National Local Government Cultural Forum and representatives from the capital cities, local government associations in all jurisdictions, ALGA, Australia Council for the Arts and the Department of Communications and the Arts. Additionally, a representative sample of councils across Australia engaged in the third phase of trials. At the close of 2018, the schema was published and made accessible to all governments and organisations who wish to report their cultural investments and activities.

Cultural activities are defined in the schema as arts, libraries and heritage (excluding natural heritage) activities that have a creative and expressive component.

The data schema comprises:

INPUTS: resources identified and available to produce outputs


Capital assets: buildings /facilities for cultural use: $ value

Capital assets: cultural collections including public art: $ value

Capital assets: other sites of cultural significance: $ value

Financial Resources

Buildings leasing for cultural activities or management: $ spent

Annual recurrent gross expenditure: $ spent

Human Resources

Volunteers: estimated EFT number

Contractors: $ amount


OUTPUTS: Activity types that the resources (inputs) are applied to

Development of cultural collections

Acquisitions: commissioning of public art: $ amount


Contracts to cultural practitioners: $ amount

Grants, sponsorship and prizes for cultural activities: $ amount

Presentational activities                       

Exhibitions: arts and heritage objects in all forms

Performances: performing arts of all forms

Publications in all media

Commission of public art (not acquired)

Gathering, celebration or ceremony

Public Talks

Pathways and guided tours

Developmental activities

Creative recreational



Research and development

Cultural Festivals

Artists Residencies 


Key activity output measures        

Number of activities  Count



Number of participants


Receptive (audiences) paid

Receptive (audience) free

Active (enabling/creating)

Number of new works New works made

New works presented

To view full definitions for each data item click here: Input – output definitions Feb 2019
To download the Microsoft Excel data collection tool click: 2017-2018 Data Collection -as of Jun 2019

Outcomes Schema

An additional aspect of this data schema, is a set of outcomes of cultural engagement (ie. what difference all this investment and activity makes) developed by CDN in collaboration with the National Local Government Cultural Forum. See the current progress on the outcome schema.

Contact us about this project

More information about this project is available from CDN:

John Smithies, Director, CDN on