This section clarifies where policy and planning is placed within council frameworks, and provides tools and guidance to help you write your own cultural policies and plans.
What is the difference between a policy and a plan?
Councils operate by making local laws and adopting policies that are in the public interest within their local government area. A policy is a statement of a decision or purpose that council either wishes to pursue or that it is required to pursue.
Policies are underpinned by plans which set out how council will implement the policy:
- strategic plan (3-5 years)
- operational plan (1 year).
What is a cultural policy?
A cultural policy is a statement that defines council's position in delivering programs or activities related to arts and culture within the local government area including collections and heritage. It outlines the legal requirements as well as the processes which promote equity and access. It also advocates for the diverse artistic, cultural and social forms of expression of all people, including those from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
While there are common threads, policies differ across councils as they reflect the varying nature of communities and regions. Undertaking broad community engagement and consultation will help identify principles and priorities specific to your region that will guide you in developing a unique cultural policy.
What is a cultural plan?
A cultural plan or strategy outlines the program for delivering council's policy, usually over a three to five year period. The annual operating plan, detailing specific actions, responsibilities and time frames, sits below the strategic plan.
Guidelines and examples
Before embarking on your project, read the guidelines below and look at some examples of other councils' arts and culture policies and plans. These are located on CultureLink.