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02/10/2018   Audit on Theatres and Concert Establishments: Can their Effectiveness be Measured?

In Lithuania, professional theatres and concert establishments receive 40 million Euros from the state budget. 97 percent of these funds are allocated to 20 establishments which fall within the area managed by the Ministry of Culture, namely – to national and state theatres and concert establishments. Unfortunately, the audit “Can Theatres and Concert Establishments Operate more Effectively?” carried out by the National Audit Office has revealed there to be a lack of substantiated data on whether the aforesaid funds are used in the most purposeful manner.

The professional scene arts establishment status has been granted to 62 Lithuanian theatres and concert establishments, which consist of 4 national, 17 state, 16 municipal, and 25 other theatres and concert establishments founded by legal entities and natural persons.

The audit has found that the funding of national and state theatres and concert establishments is not tied to their performance, as well as that national theatres and concert establishments are not subject to any specific individual requirements.

Should cultural activities be measured?

According to the auditors, since all sectors which receive funding from the state budget are held accountable, accountability for funding the culture should also be improved.

“Cultural establishments are an especially important factor in social development. How could this be proven? We must find ways to measure the performance of cultural establishments. Art establishments are funded from the state budget in order to add value to society. However, even though we have a number of national, state, municipal, and other theatres and concert establishments, the differences in terms of the value they bring to society, as well as the goals they are subject to, remain unclear,” said Lina Balėnaitė, Deputy Director of the Public Welfare Audit Department, National Audit Office.

The audit has revealed the failure of the Ministry of Culture to assess the effectiveness of the 20 theatres and concert establishments which fall within its area of management during the audited period (2014-2017). Quantitative indicators for evaluating the performance of institutions have been established, however qualitative indicators are insufficient.

Quantitative indicators tracking the performance of professional scene arts establishments have failed to detect any consistent improvement: only 40 percent of said establishments have organised shows in foreign countries; in 7 (out of 20) establishments, funds generated comprised 30 percent of the funds allocated; only 2 theatres out of 13 have organised in excess of 50 educational events, with all concert establishments falling short of this target.

Lack of performance tracking leads to lack of ideas for assistance

Audit results have demonstrated that the network of professional scene arts establishments, which are funded from the state budget, has remained fundamentally unchanged for a great number of years, and that national cultural policy is currently being formulated absent any crucial information on the performance of all of the relevant establishments. This leads to a lack of substantiated data on the pursuit of the goals of professional scene arts, and whether the funds are being deployed in the most purposeful manner.

Auditors insist that the there is no clear model for evaluating the performance of cultural activity, there is a lack of information on the best practices of the professional scene arts establishments. The failure to assess the effectiveness and quality of theatres and concert establishments makes it difficult to determine which specific types of assistance the aforesaid establishments require, let alone to provide it.

In order to address the situation, the Ministry of Culture has undertaken to implement a plan of measures developed in accordance with the recommendations provided by the National Audit Office.

 

Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 11 December 2018

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.