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October 2022

Maximising Local Area Wellbeing

With tailored support for local authorities

Maximising local area wellbeing
In partnership with

Knowing ‘What Works’ to maximise wellbeing is important; but it is only part of the journey. It is also important to know how it works and, most importantly, how to use and implement it. 

With this project, we set out to gain a better understanding of wellbeing policy making across different focus areas and local needs. 

To explore how to prepare local government policy in a way that maximises local wellbeing, we tested a range of tools and techniques to:

  • Define what wellbeing means in local areas.
  • Gather wellbeing data and assess wellbeing needs.
  • Source evidence of what works to improve wellbeing and review how this applies in each area.
  • Select measures to understand wellbeing impact.
  • Effectively review and evaluate policy.

Supported by our dedicated local authority lead, Joanne Smithson, the programme provided tailored support for local authorities to place wellbeing evidence at the heart of policy. 

The local authorities and their wellbeing areas of focus are listed in this table:

Local authority Area of focus
Southampton City Council Employee wellbeing
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Mental wellbeing & inequalities
East Devon County Council Recovery & resilience
Walsall Council Wellbeing in all policies
Sutton Council Helping Early Strategy
Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Council Wellbeing strategy
The City of Edinburgh Council Wellbeing programme
Westminster City Council Employee wellbeing programme
Redcar & Cleveland Council Wellbeing strategy
Kirklees Council Inclusion Commission


As part of the work, we produced a maturity model for wellbeing policy making which can be downloaded through the tile below.

We also produced a comprehensive report which reflects on the three year programme. The report is titled Learning from research and practice: Local government policy making to maximise wellbeing and can be downloaded through the tile below.

You can read summaries of the practitioners personal learnings in a range of contexts in the guest blogs below.


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In this project

Blog - by Joanne Smithson
Local area action plans: learning from wellbeing research and practice
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Report - by Joanne Smithson
Learning from research and practice: Local government policy making to maximise wellbeing
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Maturity model - by Joanne Smithson
Maturity model for wellbeing policy making
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Blog - Joanne Smithson
How to maximise your local wellbeing impact
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Blog - Joanne Smithson
What works for maximising local wellbeing? Lessons from Northern Ireland
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Practice example by Joanne Smithson
Developing a community-led loneliness strategy for North Yorkshite
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Blog - Nerissa Caesar
Wellbeing policy making with Westminster Council
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Blog - Kate McNicholas & Shirley Goodhew
Supporting Local Authorities to maximise wellbeing: programme update
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Blog - Lorna Jacques
Wellbeing policy making with Sutton Local Authority
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Blog - Gemma Marshall
Crafting a wellbeing strategy with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
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Presentation slides
Local wellbeing policy webinar presentations 29 September 2022
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Report - February 2020
Wellbeing evidence at the heart of policy
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Report - November 2017
Understanding local needs for wellbeing data
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