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How can governments use wellbeing measures in making and evaluating policy decisions?

17 March 2021

The COVID-19 Committee will hear evidence on approaches that governments can take, and have taken, to making wellbeing central to policy making.

Despite the fact that it only measures one factor that contributes to our collective wellbeing, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most commonly used metric of how well a particular society is doing. For at least 50 years, academics, charities and others have been developing a wide range of alternative metrics, and some are now arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic could provide the impetus needed to take a more holistic view of social progress and to make improving the social and environmental factors that influence wellbeing as much a driver for policy development as economic growth is at present.

The governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have already, in different ways, sought to implement a wellbeing approach to policy making; the government of New Zealand designed its entire 2019 budget around wellbeing priorities.


Tuesday 23 March 2021

At 9.45am, the Committee will hear evidence from:

  • Marie Brousseau-Navarro, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
  • Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, University of Oxford
  • Carrie Exton, OECD Centre for Well-Being, Inclusiveness, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity
  • Jennifer Wallace, Carnegie UK Trust

Themes for discussion

  • To what extent is it possible for governments to both understand the impact that a policy proposal they are considering might have on wellbeing and to measure the impact of a policy on wellbeing once it is introduced?
  • How does the UK Government currently try to ensure their policy, legislation and spending decisions have a positive impact on wellbeing?
  • What could the UK Government learn from the approaches taken by governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and from governments around the world? Have any of these approaches resulted in demonstrable improvements in wellbeing?


Further information