The value of measuring national well-being

By Laura Finch 30 November 2012

The Office of National Statistics recently published their report ‘Measuring National Well-being: Life in the UK, 2012′. This report details their findings released in July this year, based on the responses of 160,000 people in the UK.

By capturing data on subjective well-being for the first time, we are able to look deeper into what makes a person happy. Material goods and a higher income are quite often assumed indicators of a happy lifestyle, but that’s not always the case as these results show.

So why is it so important to get a picture of national well-being? 

Primarily, having this data will give a better understanding of the policy impacts on well-being and ensure that allocation of what are already limited resources is improved. Also, by knowing more about the factors that contribute to a happy life, people can start to make and change decisions on their lives.

Steven Twigg MP, recently voiced the importance of resilience in young people’s development. Echoing this is the Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities on Services and Activities to Improve Young People’s Well-being detailing the duty of local authorities’ to include youth work and activities that ‘raise young people’s aspirations, build their resilience and inform their decisions’.

Emotional health in childhood is singled out as the most important factor in adult well-being. Therefore it’s vital to have not only the right interventions in place, but the right measures to capture and evidence impact.

How can we measure well-being?

Using measurement tools such as the Outcomes Star, the Rickter Scale and NPC’s Well-being Measure can help you to do this. These measurement tools all exist to help you prove the impact you are having on the individuals and groups you work with. Being able to show evidence of the contribution you make to young lives is key and can help pave the way for their futures.