Submission to House of Commons Liaison Sub-Committee inquiry into Scrutiny of Strategic Thinking in Government from Sophie Howe, former Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.


In terms of information the committee might be interested in:


The Senedd/Welsh Parliament passed the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (the Act) in 2015.  The Act came into force in 2016 and serves to embed long term thinking and intergenerational equity into the decision making of the main public bodies in Wales including the Welsh Government. The core elements of the Act are:


Further information here


The Act has resulted in some transformative policy developments from Welsh Government and many positive changes amongst public bodies in Wales - some examples here:


However, this a big programme of transformation and there are still barriers in the system to implementing the ways of working which are outlined in chapter 2 of my Future Generations Reports here:


And in the section 20 review I conducted on the Welsh Government’s implementation of the Act here:


In my opinion the fact that the vision for change is set out in law, which in turn is monitored by an independent commissioner are crucial to the success of the approach; as public bodies must show how they are implementing the legislation and respond to issues raised by the Commissioner.


The Commissioner acts as a ‘coach’, providing advice and support on implementing the Act - something which in terms of long-term integrated policy making does not exist anywhere else in the public sector or policy making infrastructure. The Commissioner also acts as a ‘referee’, by monitoring, assessing, and reporting on legislation, or in some cases the lack thereof.


The Welsh model is seen internationally as the most comprehensive approach to embedding intergenerational equity and is referenced by a number of countries in development of their own approaches e.g., Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Canada. Furthermore, the UN has examined the Act in their ongoing work towards a Summit of the Future, a Future Generations Declaration, and the proposed appointment of a UN Special Envoy for Future Generations.


Sophie Howe

Sophie Howe Associates

Former Future Generation Commissioner for Wales