Four years on!
It will be four years in November 2014 since the National Well-being Measurement programme was launched. As we make progress on how to measure well-being the spotlight is turning to what it all means for policy and the decisions we make. Parliament has been interested in this for some time. There is an All Party Parliamentary Group on well-being which meets regularly and the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) launched an inquiry on well-being in 2013. In September the government published its response to this inquiry.
"Wellbeing is producing valuable new insights"
The EAC’s report was published following hearings in 2013 and early 2014. It can be downloaded here. The hearings covered a wide range of topics including how we can value nature and social relationships! They explored whether one single measure, combining others, would better communicate how well we are doing as a nation than a range of measures. The committee also heard from witnesses on how the data is being used in practice. MPs concluded “wellbeing is producing valuable new insights into our society, showing not just the state of citizens’ life-satisfaction or anxiety but also how well that correlates to their circumstances and where they live”. The committee also made some recommendations including that “ONS should not at this stage attempt to define a headline measure for overall well-being” and that “Government should immediately start to use the already available data to ‘wellbeing-proof’ existing policy proposals”.
You can read our response to the Inquiry here. We think it is a bit early to be setting up a formal ‘well-being-proofing’ process but we are developing and sharing approaches to using well-being data across government. We agree with the committee that more can be done on this. We are currently running a public dialogue project with Sciencewise to ask the public about specific policies within the context of their personal well-being. A toolkit will follow to support other policy areas to try this out. Furthermore, we are also making progress on understanding ‘what works’ to influence and improve well-being – the committee was particularly keen for government to improve our understanding in this area. You can see our written evidence on how government is already using the data at this link.
Send us your views
The Inquiry has provided a timely and valuable opportunity to listen to a range of views and evidence to inform future work on well-being and the Committee’s ongoing interest in well-being is very much welcomed. Your views are also welcome – please do get in touch by commenting on this blog or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org