Arts Council England – Mandatory Requirements for Band 2 and 3 National Portfolio Organisations Using the Impact & Insight Toolkit in the Financial Year 2020-21

The information on this page was written by Arts Council England for NPOs using the Impact & Insight Toolkit. View/download a PDF version of this page here.


We know that because of Covid-19 the audience data and insights you collect might be limited, so we’ve produced some further guidance to help let you know our expectations.

After relaxing funding conditions for NPOs in March 2020, we will be reinstating our requirements for the Impact & Insight Toolkit. An overview of the original funding conditions are available at the bottom of this page.


What do we expect in the financial year 20-21?

We understand it may be difficult for some NPOs to complete four Impact & Insight Toolkit evaluations in 2020/21 as per the mandatory evaluation guidance. Arts Council England and Counting What Counts recognise that collecting audience data while social distancing measures are still in place may be challenging.

The guiding principle is that NPOs should make the effort to gather as much audience data as they can.

Where your programme allows, you should prioritise conducting at least 2 evaluations which adhere to the mandatory evaluation criteria, as detailed in the mandatory evaluation guidance (available here). You should also, where possible and safe to do so, provide at least two peer reviews for other NPOs.

You should produce an insights report on your findings within one month of each evaluation being completed and share it with your Relationship Manager. In July 2021 you will need to produce and upload to Grantium a summary report of these evaluations.


Adapting the Impact & Insight Toolkit for COVID-19

You may also be considering additional evaluation activity, reflecting how your programmes have changed this year, such as using the Toolkit’s participatory dimensions or it’s ‘evaluation for online works’ survey template. Counting What Counts are here to support your evaluation efforts however much your programme of activities has changed.

The inherent flexibility of the Toolkit means that it can support NPOs to evaluate and understand the impact of their new programming plans as they re-open under different circumstances.

The survey builder functionality in the Toolkit allows you to create any bespoke survey you want, and collect as many responses as you wish. We see global users of the Culture Counts platform doing all kinds of interesting evaluations of the impact of culture, so do get in touch with Counting What Counts if you’re thinking of doing something new.

To support NPOs, Counting What Counts are also actively developing new resources that will support you to use the Toolkit more flexibly. Resource topics include: hybrid events (simultaneously live and online); socially distanced outdoor events; and the impact of culture in place. Further reporting tools are also being developed, making it easier to share a wider range of information with your stakeholders.


How else can the Impact & Insight Toolkit help me?

The Toolkit collects your data in a consistent way which allows the sector to speak with one voice and demonstrate what the arts can mean in people’s lives. The innovation shown by the arts and cultural sector over recent months has been astounding and it is our responsibility to develop the Toolkit accordingly to enable you to evidence this. As you re-open, and re-engage, the Toolkit can help you demonstrate the difference your organisation makes to your audiences and community.


Where can I find out more?

There is a full range of guidance notes, and ‘how to’ resources available on the Impact & Insight Toolkit website, including a new guide to using QR codes to issue audience surveys in a contactless way.

Counting What Counts are regularly adding new material, so do follow them on twitter and/or Facebook or regularly check the Resources page of the Toolkit website.

Now might be a good time for us to help you evaluate a new piece of work, or to review some aspect of your long standing evaluation activities. So do get in touch with Counting What Counts or join one of their online demos. They are here to help you experiment with new evaluations, and to support the sector as fully as they can.


What are the Original Funding Conditions?

NPO funding agreements require Band 2 and 3 NPOs to carry out at least four evaluations using the Impact & Insight Toolkit each year, and to provide peer reviews for other NPOs. Band 2 and 3 NPOs are required to share findings with their Relationship Manager within one month of the evaluation completing using the insights report function. Additionally, in the month of July for each evaluation year, band 2 and 3 NPOs must submit a summary report using the summary report function.

Band 1 NPOs and SSOs that choose to use the Impact & Insight Toolkit should also adhere to these basic standards for any evaluations they agree to share with their Relationship Manager. Please refer to the guidance documents available for tips and advice for carrying our evaluations.


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The information on this page was last updated on 5 August, 2020.