UPDATE 5/8/2018: NPC have closed the wellbeing measure in 2017 – to read their reflections on why and what they learned here.
At NPC we have focused on well-being for many years, setting up our Wellbeing Measure to help charities and schools quantify the impact they have on the lives of 11 – 16 year olds. Used before and after an intervention to measure a change in subjective well-being, this online, survey-based tool provides them with automatic analysis of their results at a group level in relation to a national baseline.
The tool was launched in 2011 after three years of development and piloting with a variety of charities. Based on a set of carefully researched and fully validated questions (answered on a level of agreement from strongly agree to strongly disagree), it covers the following aspects of well-being:
- emotional well-being
- relationships with friends & family
- satisfaction with school & community
- overall life satisfaction
A variety of organisations have used the tool, including charities, schools and local authorities. It has helped The Outward Bound Trust, for example, demonstrate significant improvements in self-esteem, resilience and life satisfaction, lending considerable evidence to its claim to improve young people’s lives through outdoor experience. Head of Impact Evaluation, Emma Ferris, says working with the tool ‘helps you stand out from the crowd … and capture the essence of what you do in a strong, credible way.’
Over the years, 7,000 survey responses have enabled us to build up a baseline for the well-being of young people in the UK. This data is able to illustrate trends in well-being and bring fresh insight to the differences between boys and girls, explored in our paper Measure what you treasure. It shows, for example, falling levels of well-being among all young people during their teenage years, but a much sharper decline for girls compared with boys.
The standard cost for using the survey is £800+VAT (to measure the change in well-being between two points in time for 200 young people). With this comes the ability to customise surveys to incorporate additional questions and tags, enabling results to be filtered and comparisons between sub groups to be made. A free version of the tool, launched in 2013, offers organisations the chance to trial it for a limited time period.
We are keen to explore how the Well-being Measure might be adapted for other groups, including organisations working with young people above and below the current age band or with those who have visual/hearing impairments or learning difficulties. A modified version has already been used by Tri-Borough London authorities—Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea—for their work with children with special educational needs.