If you are a regular follower of NPC’s work, you’ll have heard about the development of our Well-being Measure – a tool designed for charities and schools to evaluate their impact on young people.  So in a speech earlier this week, we were delighted to hear the Prime Minister David Cameron gave his strongest avowal yet of the importance of using measures of well-being as a yardstick for making decisions.

He stated how he wanted to lead a government that ‘actually think[s] about people’s well-being when we make decisions’. I couldn’t agree more.

As well as providing a richer measure, I think it’s also good for charities as it moves us closer to valuing the all-important ‘soft-outcomes’ that matter most to people, such as increases in self-esteem or relationships. Too often it seems that if you can’t put a ‘£’ on it, it doesn’t seem to be valued.

It would seem that the Prime Minister’s warm words are beginning to be backed up by action. The concept of well-being may be approaching lift off. ‘Right across Whitehall we are today applying to the design of policy the best that science teaches us about how people behave – and what drives their well-being’, the Prime Minister argued.

To support this goal, last year the government tasked the Office for National Statistics (ONS) with developing a measure of overall well-being. We will see the fruits of this at the end of the year when, for the first time, we have a genuine measure of the UK’s well-being.

But while the ONS measure will give us a good overall sense of national well-being, it is unlikely to provide the necessary level of detail required to evaluate individual policies and investments. For this we need other measures.

That is where NPC’s Well-being Measure fits in. In contrast to the ONS’s measure, our tool works at the scale of a small group of ten or more. It can be used by charities, schools, primary care trusts or any organisation that works with young people to measure changes in well-being. And what’s different is that it is practical and developed with the goals and limitations of front-line organisations in mind so it accessible to almost everybody who wants to do measurement.

At NPC we support David Cameron’s wish to make the measurement of well-being central to policy-making. Through our Well-being Measure, NPC hopes to play its part.

Please note that the availability of NPC’s Well-being Measure is currently limited. It will become widely available later in 2011. To sign up for updates or if you want to enquire about using it please email us at wellbeing@philanthropycapital.org.

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