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Measuring what matters: Putting wellbeing measures into practice

IPPR North , communities , culture , health , regional issues



IPPR North will be working on this project alongside Carnegie UK Trust to determine how to put new wellbeing measures into practice in the UK. As notions of quality of life, wellbeing and happiness gain currency within policy circles, a number of governments across the world are giving serious consideration to how to measure and monitor these concepts in order to factor them into policy making.  This project will look at how we can ensure measures are factored into the policy making process, so that what we measure is what really matters.

In the UK the ONS has just completed a consultation on how to measure wellbeing, concluding that it is possible to measure wellbeing in a meaningful way, and identifying survey data that can contribute to monitoring wellbeing.  Meanwhile in Scotland, the Sustainable Development Commission and Carnegie have created a set of measures to monitor wellbeing.  But there are a number of countries that are ahead of the UK in this thinking.  Not only are they more advanced in terms of how to measure and analyse wellbeing, but they have experience of using these measures to inform shape policy thinking and implementation.  Ultimately what policy makers measure will only matter if it influences how public policy is designed and delivered. 

This piece of work will focus on how to put into practice new wellbeing measures.  It will seek to learn from international experience of how wellbeing measures have changed policy practices, and where there have been barriers to change.  It will then seek to translate these lessons into a UK context, and disseminate them through a symposium that brings together stakeholders and policy makers from local government, devolved administrations and national government in the UK. 

The project will comprise of two elements, a series of study trips abroad and a UK wide symposium on putting wellbeing measures into practice. IPPR North and Carnegie staff will undertake the study trips to places that are more advanced in implementing wellbeing measurement. Each visit will combine formal meetings, seminars and, where relevant, observation of policy and politics in practice. 

The symposium will hear from some of the most inspirational speakers and best case study examples identified on these study trips. The audience for the symposium will be wide ranging, including: the UK government (CLG, Cabinet Office); Scottish Government; Welsh Assembly Government; Northern Irish Executive; Office of National Statistics; Local Government Association; Welsh Local Government Association; Convention of Scottish Local Authorities; Northern Ireland Local Government Association; local authority chief executives; think tanks; academics; trades unions; voluntary and community sector.

This work is generously funded by Carnegie UK Trust.