Public consultation responses
Classifying and measuring the creative industries – Crafts Council response June 2013
The Crafts Council welcomes the DCMS’s decision to review the system for classifying and measuring the creative industries and its ambition to set in place a more robust method. We have actively participated in the Creative Industries Council Technical Working Group and welcomed the opportunity to participate in informed debate both before and during the consultation period.
As England’s national development agency for contemporary craft, the Crafts Council works to raise the profile of contemporary craft through critical debate and by building an evidence base demonstrating the nature and value of craft. It supports makers’ professional development, builds the market for contemporary craft by running fairs and promoting export, and works to encourage participation and learning and business growth. This consultation therefore offers us an important opportunity to work with Government and partners to improve our ability, and that of the crafts sector as a whole, to evidence the diverse and hugely creative contribution that craft businesses make to the UK economy.
The launch of the consultation generated a significant and, at times, passionate response from the craft sector, fuelled in part by a concern that craft could, by extrapolation, be excluded as a category from the overall definition of the creative industries which successive governments have used since 1998. DCMS’s reiteration that the focus of the approach was specifically on the removal of craft from its categories of data collection, rather than its overall definitions, was a welcome step in refining this debate. The Government is clearly aiming to improve on its approach to data collection, but there remains a residual anxiety that future governments may not be able to provide the reassurances we have received from this Government that craft matters: what isn’t counted now may not count in the future in policy terms if it is not visible in the official statistics.
Our response to the consultation paper therefore asks to what extent the application of the creative intensities methodology drills down into those codes which reflect the breadth of creative activity and achievement in the craft sector. It explores whether there are alternative applications of the creative intensities approach using additional codes which would enable the economic activity of crafts people in England to be more accurately reflected. In our answer to consultation issue 6 (below) we make reference to our own data which illustrates the extent of economic activity and which therefore drives our ambition to use the opportunity DCMS have given us to work together to improve the classification and measurement of data. We also highlight the need for further work to accurately represent the significant contribution across the creative industries of sole traders and those micro-enterprises working below the VAT threshold.
To inform our response we commissioned TBR, a leading economic research consultancy with broad experience in the creative industries, to:
1. undertake a review of the definitions and methodologies used by agencies seeking to measure craft; and
2. explore the scope for craft to be explicitly included, classified and measured by DCMS.
This response draws on TBR’s work and summarises proposals for including craft. The response also appends two reports from TBR setting out the proposals in more detail. The Crafts Council is happy for other organisations to draw on these arguments and to quote from the reports, acknowledging both the Crafts Council and TBR in those references.
1. Report one: definitions 1998 – 2012 (background information)
2. Report two: proposals for a way forward. The Crafts Council’s response draws mainly upon the results of this document.
Consultation issue 1: what are your views of using the Creative Intensities methodology to underpin the DCMS Creative Industries classification?
We support the methodology, but have questions about the way it is applied to the codes.
We support the use of the creative intensities methodology as an improvement on the existing approach. We agree that it is simpler and more transparent and recognise that the methodology must operate within the constraints of the existing international classifications and codes and available data.
Our response focusses on the way in which the creative intensities method has been applied to the SIC and SOC codes for craft, rather than the method itself. The extent to which craft has been fully understood in the process may be a factor which has contributed to its proposed exclusion.
Looking at the five criteria, no hard and fast rules are proposed for their application to determine whether an occupation is creative or not. Within the individual criteria, there may be a question, for example, over whether aspects of craft are mechanisation resistant in the sense that mechanisation may offer an alternative to makers, rather than a replacement. In many cases, but not all, the essence of craft is in intentionally selecting a non-mechanised approach but this is changing over time with different interpretations current amongst the making community. This accords with the short run, differentiated approach with which Nesta characterises the creative industries.
Consultation issue 2: what are your views of the list of Creative Occupations as defined above? Are there occupations which have been included which you think should not be? Are there occupations which have not been included which you think should be? What evidence do you have (if any) to support your view on inclusions or exclusions?
Understanding craft as a process rather than a product points towards the inclusion of more SOC codes for craft in the category of ‘creative employment in non-creative industries’.
The Crafts Council’s approach to the consultation and to understanding how best to represent craft is informed by our understanding of the way in which makers apply their skills in context. We believe that the decisions the Government makes about data classification in response to the consultation could be informed by a stronger understanding of craft practice and how intrinsically creative it is. The craft sector can be most appropriately defined in terms of the process by which skills are applied, rather than by the generation of products at the end of the process. So, for example, the glass maker Matt Durran applies his skills in working with glass both to the production of installations and sculptures which are contemporary art objects as well as to health interventions at the forefront of the world of tissue engineering, working with surgeons and researchers to create glass moulds for tissue and organ generation. Matt’s work exemplifies the real-world application of craft processes and a specialist knowledge of material.
As a consequence, this leads us to approach the issues raised by the DCMS consultation by focusing primarily on how the SOC codes represent craft as a set of skills within an occupation (rather than an industry) seeking the closest fit for craft occupations within skilled trades in both the creative and non-creative industries. It is worth noting that the variety of SOC codes that have been deployed for craft between 1998 and 2012 is an indication of the challenge in identifying components of craft by reference to things produced. We would therefore welcome DCMS’s engagement with ONS statisticians to try to increase understanding of where craft activity is truly captured in the SOC system, identifying and applying appropriate SOCs to a greater breadth of craft skills than are currently represented. We would argue that a better understanding of the craft SOCs is likely to lead to higher GRID scores in the application of the creative intensities five criteria and the inclusion of more relevant SOC codes.
The simplest answer to this consultation issue would be to introduce employment in a set of SOCs which do not change the SIC definition. This would mean most change would occur in the category of ‘creative employment in non-creative industries’ (see Fig. 12 Comparing proposed creative employment to DCMS creative industries(1)). This would also mean that craft continues to be (mainly) captured in this definition as it used to be in the DCMS Economic Estimates. TBR’s reports for the Crafts Council review key pieces of mapping work that have covered craft in recent years and identify a shortlist of commonly used SOCs. Many jobs/activities may be included within an individual SOC code. For example, looking at the list of jobs covered in ONS guidance, many may appear to have mechanised equivalents, which would account for a score of zero against criterion two of the creative intensities method. Further confusion arises through the term ‘craft’ being widely used and accepted in the building trade to refer to activities such as joinery, plumbing, roofing etc. The point here is that the mechanised equivalents of many craft occupations are covered elsewhere in the SOC system, as is the often conflated construction equivalent. For example, ‘glass and ceramics makers, decorators and finishers’ (SOC code 5441) has a mechanised equivalent of ‘glass and ceramics process operatives’ (SOC code 8112) and a construction trade equivalent of ‘glaziers, window fabricators and fitters’ (SOC code 5316). Further examples are listed in TBR’s second paper.
In addition, we would argue that the contents of SOC 5449 ‘other skilled trades’ should be counted as craft. One issue cited in Classifying and Measuring the Creative Industries(2) for not including craft occupational codes is that the SOC2010 system has reduced the number of craft codes, subsuming them into groups with fewer skilled workers that cannot be considered credible to include. TBR’s second report notes that the main change is to the catch-all category of ‘hand craft occupations NEC’ (5499) which has changed into 5449 ‘other skilled trades NEC’. The other SOCs all remain valid crafts occupations. TBR (at table 3) provides some insight into the contents of this new 2010 SOC 5449, showing that 94% of the content of SOC 5449 has always been considered as relevant to craft. The remaining 6% of jobs include the application of skilled knowledge and/or creativity. The important point is that these occupations have been moved into SOC 5449 by the ONS because they are considered to more accurately reflect the type of work encapsulated by SOC 5449 than where they were previously. If we accept that SOC 5449 accurately reflects craft practice, then we should accept that these activities belong here and should be counted. In addition, the core of ‘best fit’ SOCs (eg 5411 ‘weavers and knitters’ and 5441 ‘glass and ceramics makers, decorators and finishers’, together with others listed at table 5 in TBR’s second report), should also still be included in the definition.
Lastly, it is worth noting that the way in which the SOC codes have evolved between 2000 and 2010 suggests that higher level unifying categories may emerge in the future, indicating that the notion of a designer/maker code may in the long term be helpful. This may help address the issues underlying the relative invisibility of craft: the spread of SIC codes under which craft appears and the lack of critical mass of makers preventing the generation of robust data or triggering entry above the 30% threshold for the creative intensity model: thus their overall impact within any particular stage of the supply chain is reduced. The range of products craft encompasses means that their overall impact appears insufficient to meet intensity thresholds as they form a small part of many industries. In addition, sample sizes within official surveys are often too small to capture the full range of occupations and industries simultaneously, thus leading to volatility in the statistics reported.
Consultation issue 3: what are your views of the list of sectors as defined above? Are there sectors which have been included which you think should not be? Are there sectors which have not been included which you think should be? What evidence do you have (if any) to support your view on inclusions or exclusions?
The inclusion of more craft SOC codes, together with a further look at the robustness of the 10,000 total employment threshold for SICs, may point to changes in the list of sectors.
By proposing a fresh approach to the identification of relevant SOC codes, this may naturally impact on the SIC definitions: adding to the SOCs that are considered creative is likely to push other SIC codes over the 30% threshold of the creative intensities threshold for inclusion. There are grounds for this: Nesta’s own analysis(3) acknowledges the validity of including SICs 3212 and 2341. TBR suggests that the issue would be the reliability of underlying estimates. It would also be important to consider whether such a narrow range of SICs is helpful in describing craft. As a consequence, the creative intensities method would then need to be recalculated to see if any other SICs would be pushed above the 30% threshold.
The 30% threshold is also accompanied by an ONS guideline that in excess of 10,000 people should be employed in total in the SIC. The ONS 10,000 figure has a confidence interval of 4,000 i.e. actual estimates could be between 6,000 and 14,000 – effectively 4,000 either way. TBR’s investigations (table 9) suggest that at 10,000 one additional SIC could be included, and at 6,000 a further six. On the strength of this point (which will also apply to other creative industry sectors) we would encourage DCMS to engage ONS colleagues in further discussions about the implications of the confidence interval. (Current figures are already subject to considerable volatility, were this to be a concern.)
Consultation issue 4: what are your views of the list of groupings as shown above? Are there other groupings which you think would be preferable, given the SIC codes available to match together in these groupings?
In the light of our proposals for the inclusion of more craft SOC codes, we object to the proposed removal of the craft sector from the classifications.
Our response has focussed largely on suggestions for revising and expanding the proposed approach to the selection of SOC codes. The fact that the SIC codes have a less significant bearing on the effectiveness of the classifications in representing craft does not lead us to discount the importance of the SIC codes or the desire to reflect them in a more accessible grouping.
However, we strongly object to the proposed removal of the craft sector from the classifications. This would amount to an exclusion of a category which continues to exist as a creative industry, on the grounds of what is effectively administrative neatness and a current technical inability to reflect the achievements of that sector. We have proposed ways in which we believe craft sector can be reflected in the data within the creative intensities criteria and which therefore merit the continued inclusion of craft.
Even if these arguments are not accepted, we would urge the Government to continue the dialogue about effective data capture on craft and, in anticipation of finding an appropriate resolution either now or in the future, the category should therefore not be removed.
Consultation issue 5: do the SIC and SOC codes adequately and accurately capture the full range of economic activity within the creative industries. If not, how would you better define the SIC and SOC codes?
We propose the creation of a collective ‘designer/maker’ SOC .
One of the key challenges for craft is the lack of critical mass reflected in the SIC codes. This is largely driven by the fact that the craft is embodied by process, rather than product. As such, when considered through the SIC lens (which is driven by products and materials) craft is always likely to be scattered across the system. This points to the importance of having an appropriate SOC classification that captures the designing and making process, regardless of the materials used or the products produced. To this end, we would champion the creation of a collective ‘designer/maker’ SOC . The starting point for this would be further aggregation of the current SOCs commonly categorised as craft.
Consultation issue 6: What indicators do you find to be of value in your work? Do you collect data against these indicators on a regular basis and, if so, how do you do so?
We collect data on the numbers of craft businesses and the GVA of the sector, amongst others.
The Crafts Council’s research Craft in an Age of Change(4) is a major survey of contemporary craft at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. It examines the place of craft in the creative economy and the working patterns of makers and other craft professionals. The research took a number of forms: a literature review, a series of focus groups, interviews with experts, meetings with a steering group, and a large phone survey of over 2,000 makers, retailers, educators and curators.
Based on the survey of 2,000, we estimate there are currently 23,000 businesses in the craft sector with a GVA of £220m in 2011.
The evidence in the report of the number of self-employed makers and sole traders in the craft sector (88% based on the sample of 2000) points towards the urgent need to identify robust datasets on which to base estimates of the numbers in these categories of employment. This is an issue which affects not just craft, but also music and other creative industries with high numbers of micro-businesses. It also emphasises our final important point, which is that the data our proposals for revision to the classifications would generate, can only ever be an absolute minimum figure for the craft sector, without further work to accurately represent the significant contribution of sole traders and those micro-enterprises working below the VAT threshold.
1. Classifying and Measuring the Creative Industries, a collaborative project led by Creative Skillset, partnered by Creative and Cultural Skills and involving the DCMS and NESTA. http://www.creativeskillset.org/research/activity/classifications/article_9067_1.asp
3. A Dynamic Mapping of the UK’s Creative Industry, a NESTA publication by Hasan Bakhshi, Alan Freeman and Peter Higgs http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/creative_economy/assets/features/a_dynamic_mapping_of_the_uks_creative_industries
4. Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council 2012. http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/professional-development/research-and-information/research-reports/
Defining and measuring craft: Definitions 1998 – 2012
TBR: Report one: definitions 1998 – 2012 - submitted 13.06.13Download File (736KB Pdf File)
Defining and measuring craft: Proposals for a way forward
TBR: Report two: Defining and measuring craft: Proposals for a way forward - submitted 13.06.13Download File (819KB Pdf File)
The Future of Apprenticeships in England
Department for Education, BIS, The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Next steps from the Richard Review - Response form – submitted 22.05.13Download File (182KB Pdf File)