Please note that What Works Wellbeing will close operations on 30 April 2024.  Read more
Mar 4, 2015 | by Tricia

Wellbeing in Wales – with the Public Policy Institute for Wales

We are commited to putting the needs of our audience at the heart of our workplan. With this in mind we recently visited Wales to connect with a range of organisations. Read more below….

Our pioneer is a video from the Wellbeing in the East group of projects working across the  East Midlands, North East, and East of England.

→ be one of our wellbeing pioneers

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing was recently invited by the PPIW-logo-webPublic Policy Institute for Wales to come over to Cardiff share what we’ve been up to and what we want to achieve. We are at early stages in setting up this new What Works Centre and we want to make sure that what the Centre does will be useful. So last week we travelled to a very wet Cardiff – we didn’t let the weather dampen our spirits, we’re resilient here at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing!

There are some amazing things happening in Wales – we heard about the Social Services and Wellbeing act, the Wellbeing of Future Generations bill currently in development and the exciting consultation through the National Conversation about the Wales We Want . We also heard from Public Health Wales , the Wellbeing planner, the People and Work unit, Bevan Commission and the Gellideg Foundation

Our purpose is to understand what governments, communities, businesses and individuals can do to increase wellbeing. We met with colleagues from the across the different sectors in Wales to introduce ourselves, hear what’s happening here and think about how we can help each other. We are also working in partnership with Evidence Exchange for these sessions because we know that sharing of learning from all types of evidence, including grey literature, tacit knowledge and experience is crucial to successful implementation of policy and practice

But what do we mean by wellbeing?

If you google it you’re greeted with images of yoga, families, healthy food and the Dalai Llama.

Wellbeing is about what matters to you. Positive physical and mental health. Prosperity, thriving, sustainable communities and businesses. Put simply, we think it’s about people and quality of life.

And how do we measure our progress as a nation? Well, we think it can be measured by more than our GDP figures. GDP doesn’t count things that are important: volunteering, civic participation, leisure time, democracy, control, freedom….

However, GDP does count things that are associated with decreases in wellbeing: Costs of commuting, divorce, crime…..

We’re building on the work of ONS with their Measuring National Wellbeing work and Personal Wellbeing domain which asks 4 simple questions (on a scale of 0-10).

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”
  • “Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?”
  • “Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?”
  • “Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?”

And now you can see how you compare

After some initial wider scepticism there is an enormous amount of interest around wellbeing and how to embed it into public policy and professional practice. That’s where we come in.

We will Collate → Synthesise → Translate high quality evidence of what works to improve wellbeing. We will make this evidence easy and accessible for decision makers to use.

Taking a wellbeing perspective has many benefits for social policy – focussing on early intervention and prevention, taking a community and asset based approach, being more joined up and looking at what really matters to people. Subjective wellbeing measures tend to have cross-cutting relevance in policy, supporting better outcomes – longevity, productivity, employment. Seemingly soft measures can present in hard ways.

What Can I do?

→look after your own wellbeing

help us :

share your learning and connect with others;

→ use wellbeing evidence in practice by evaluating the wellbeing impact of interventions and help grow the evidence base.

We want you to be bold in your pioneering and deliberate in your learning.

We want to put the needs and wants of our audience at the heart of what we do – tell us:

  • What do you want from the centre?
  • How can we turn research findings into action that will be most useful for you in policy and practice?
  • What should be the priorities?

We are looking forward to hearing about the Wales We Want, we will be following the progress of the Future Generations Bill and its implementation alongside the Social Care and Wellbeing Act as they continue to build our shared evidence base about what works to improve wellbeing.

Say hello:  @WhatWorksWB

what works wellbeing picture from website


Practice Examples
Sep 22, 2017
Wellbeing outcomes and national government: Scotland
Jan 27, 2021 | By Jennifer Wallace, Ben Thurman and Hannah Ormston - Carnegie UK Trust
Putting wellbeing into policy: where to begin?
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May 23, 2019 | By John Linnane
Why have a Year of Wellbeing in Coventry and Warkwickshire?
Guest Blog

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