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United Kingdom

Well-Being Duty (UK0089)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United Kingdom – Third National Action Plan 2016-18

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Welsh Government

Support Institution(s): The 43 specified public bodies under the Act and Public Service Boards, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Auditor General for Wales

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, E-Government, Environment and Climate, Extractive Industries, Health, Legislation & Regulation, Local Commitments, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: United Kingdom End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, United Kingdom Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment Text: All public bodies, listed in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales)
Act 2015, have a duty to set and publish well-being objectives that outline how they will contribute
to achieving each of the well-being goals and take reasonable steps to meet those objectives.
Objective: Requiring public bodies to do things in pursuit of the economic, social, environmental
and cultural well-being of Wales in a way that accords with the sustainable development principle;
to require public bodies to report on such action.
Status quo: A more consistent approach across the public sector to decision making affecting
the well-being of Wales.
Ambition: It will place a legal duty on specified public bodies to take account of the importance
of involving people that reflect the diversity of the population in their decision making.
Milestones:
1. Legal duty comes into force (April 2016)
2. Public Bodies publish their first well-being objectives (April 2016 – May 2017)
3. Assessment of local well-being (April 2016 – May 2017)

IRM End of Term Status Summary

✪9. Well-being duty on specified public bodies in Wales (Wales)

Commitment Text:All public bodies, listed in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, have a duty to set and publish well-being objectives that outline how they will contribute to achieving each of the well-being goals and take reasonable steps to meet those objectives.

Objective:Requiring public bodies to do things in pursuit of the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales in a way that accords with the sustainable development principle; to require public bodies to report on such action.

Status quo:A more consistent approach across the public sector to decision making affecting the well-being of Wales.

Ambition:It will place a legal duty on specified public bodies to take account of the importance of involving people that reflect the diversity of the population in their decision making.

Milestones:

1. Legal duty comes into force (April 2016)

2. Public Bodies publish their first well-being objectives (April 2016 – May 2017)

3. Assessment of local well-being (April 2016 – May 2017)

Responsible institution: Welsh Government

Supporting institutions: The 43 specified public bodies under the Act and Public Service Boards, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Auditor General for Wales

Start date: April 2016

End date: On-going

Editorial note: This commitment is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented and therefore qualifies as a starred commitment.

Commitment Aim:

In 2015, the National Assembly of Wales passed the Well-being of Future Generations Act.[Note 242: Welsh Government, Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/people/future-generations-act/?lang=en, and National Assembly for Wales Research Service, The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015: What is it and what does it mean for Wales?, https://assemblyinbrief.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-well-being-of-future-generations-wales-act-2015-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-wales/ ] The Act ‘aims to improve the social, economic and cultural well-being of Wales by placing a duty on public bodies to think in a more sustainable and long-term way through seven goals', based on 46 indicators.[Note 243: The seven goals are a prosperous Wales, a resilient Wales, a healthier Wales, a more equal Wales, a Wales of cohesive communities, a Wales of vibrant culture and Welsh language and a globally responsible Wales. ] Public bodies must publish their strategy for achieving these seven goals.[Note 244: The goals are listed here and fit with five long-term needs: Long-term thinking, Prevention, Integration, Collaboration Involvement, National Assembly for Wales Research Service, The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015: What is it and what does it mean for Wales?, https://assemblyinbrief.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-well-being-of-future-generations-wales-act-2015-what-is-it-and-what-does-it-mean-for-wales/] Commitment 9 builds directly off Commitment 8 and overlaps considerably with it.

The Act establishes a total of 19 Public Services Boards (PSBs), one for each local authority/local government area in Wales, covering the 43 public bodies in the Act. The Members of the Board must include the local authority, the Local Health Board, the Welsh Fire and Rescue Authority and Natural Resources Wales, as well as the option of a number of other bodies, such as the police. It must include at least one voluntary organisation.[Note 245: Welsh Government, ‘Public Service Boards', http://gov.wales/topics/improvingservices/public-services-boards/?lang=en ]

The commitment also creates opportunities for the public to become involved in decision making and discloses information on those decisions. If fully implemented the commitment would help promote openness and public discussion regarding long-term well-being in Wales. Making the participatory decision-making process legally binding would be a transformative change to government practice.

Status

Midterm: Complete

All milestones were implemented by the end of the first year of implementation.[Note 246: Interview with Rhiannon Caunt, Welsh Government, 6 September 2017: Interview with Jetske Germing, Welsh Council of Voluntary Organizations, 8 September 2017. ] In July 2017, the Welsh Commissioner for Future Generations praised the PSBs as having met milestones 2 and 3 by publishing all their objectives but warned that ‘the work also highlights the real challenges that are faced to be properly prepared to consider the needs of future generations and plan for well-being.'[Note 247: Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, ‘Commissioner responds to Welsh Government well-being objectives', https://futuregenerations.wales/news/commissioner-responds-to-welsh-government-well-being-objectives/ ] In terms of openness, the Commissioner advised of a ‘need to dig deeper into data… Assessments should not just be a collection of data, they should be an opportunity to make connections between key issues'. She also noted that skills needed to be developed within organisations for this purpose.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Major

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment has increased access to information in a major way. Each of the public boards across Wales have published a set of objectives and well-being assessments. In May 2018 the Future Generations Commissioner, reflecting on two years of the law's operation, said, ‘Public bodies have devoted much time and energy...publishing these objectives, working on assessments of well-being for their local area and developing joint well-being plans. PSBs published assessments of well-being for their locality, drafted objectives to improve well-being and consulted on these plans with their communities'.

Progress remains to be made on tasks including ‘dating documents, explaining the status of the publication and keeping the information simple'.[Note 248: Future Generations Commissioner Wales (2018), Well-being in Wales: the journey so far Future Generations Commissioner for Wales May 2018, http://futuregenerations.wales/resources_posts/well-being-in-wales-the-journey-so-far/ ] Some documents are hard to understand and not always easy to find online. Other evidence supports increased civic participation. The Well-being Act had also helped stimulate public engagement in areas such as planning, though the same study ‘warned that there must be awareness of pressures on overburdened, under-resourced local authorities'. Another observer highlighted the commitment's role in involving community groups in consultations and meetings around urban community-driven redevelopment.[Note 249: Jones, M. and Spence, A. (2017) Empowering local people through the planning process: The emerging practice of Place Planning and its contribution to community well-being in Wales. In: Brotas, L., Roaf, S. and Nicol, F., eds. (2017) Design to Thrive. Edinburgh, UK: Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, pp. 4493-4500: Littlewood, J., & Davies, G. (2017). The Sustainable regeneration of the Swansea High Street-a cohesive community. Sustainability in Energy and Buildings: Research Advances ISSN 2054-3743 Vol. 6. No. 1 : pp.35-43 : seb17s-010]

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward.


Commitments

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