What Works Wellbeing operated from 2014 to 2024. This website is a static repository of all assets captured at closure on 30 April. It will remain publicly accessible but will not be updated.  Read more

Our work

The What Works Wellbeing operated from 2014 to 2024.

Our goal was to find out ‘what works’ to improve wellbeing and how to use that knowledge with confidence to inform decision making.

As a collaborating Centre, we worked with the research community, governments, policymakers, businesses and charity organisations to establish an extensive body of insights and resources, building on the UK Measures of National Wellbeing framework, and put this knowledge into action, creating a learning system for wellbeing.

Below are some of the ways we promoted better understanding and practice of wellbeing in society to support people across the UK to live happy and fulfilling lives now and in the future.

Explore our projects and resources and read Our Legacy

“Your evidence reviews are like gold dust to us.”


Who we worked with

We offered a number of services, tools and resources for central and local governments to help ensure good governance for wellbeing. This included policy recommendations, Treasury’s Green Book Wellbeing Guidance training for analysts and economists, and convening experts to solve specific challenges.

We provided services specifically for third sector organisations including NGOs, charities and VCSEs including consultancy, knowledge transfer and learning, and measurement and evaluation.

Our workplace wellbeing work focused on the effectiveness of the wellbeing strategies put in place by organisations and evaluates whether they are adding value, having a positive or negative effect and are cost effective.

We reviewed these activities to ensure that they are safe, well intentioned and effective, and not simply a form of ‘wellbeing-washing’. We provided support, guidance, learning and measurement tools to support organisations work.

We partnered with higher education institutions and research organisations to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to develop and synthesise the wellbeing evidence base. Explore our projects section for more details.

“Your support and intellect has been invaluable.”


How we helped

Advisory roles

As leaders in wellbeing evidence, we held several evidence and implementation advisory roles in academia, government, trusts and charities. 

Civil society sector advice

Our free one-to-one advice sessions offered personalised wellbeing advice for VCSE sector organisations. 

Find out more and book a slot on the civil society surgery page.

Convening business and research

Our Business Leaders’ Council brought together stakeholders from the business sector with a group of leading academics. These experts helped to define the problems, scope the offer and implementation needs of private sector partners, and support the development of the Centre’s expertise and delivery in this area of work.

Data analysis

Find out more about how we accelerated access to wellbeing data

Evaluation support

We supported evaluations so that understanding is deepened and new insights were generated and fed back into the knowledge base, creating a wider learning system for wellbeing.

Evidence reviews

So that global wellbeing evidence is easy to find, understand and compare, we produced high-quality synthesis reports and systematic reviews to collate existing evidence on the effectiveness of programmes and practices, map current practice to understand real-world application and establish where research needs to go next. 

Expert guidance

We used our expertise to advise governments, organisations and the third sector on wellbeing strategies that work. We provided guidance, measurement tools and evidence.

Knowledge-building and training

We provided training and education to businesses, organisations, leaders and teams about what works to improve wellbeing, running bespoke workshops and training tailored to individual needs, ranging from workplace wellbeing, and tackling loneliness, to policy design, and using the Treasury’s Green Book Wellbeing Guidance. 

“Thanks for your time and giving us assurance that wellbeing measures are a very doable potential measure of impact for us”