The concept and language of wellbeing was first introduced at the local level through the Local Government Act 2000. The Act included a new power of wellbeing, providing local authorities with the power to do whatever they consider necessary to promote or improve the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of their area. Following this, useful indicators aimed at measuring quality of life were developed and are now widely used by local authorities and their partners to track changing conditions of life at the local level.

This document presents proposals for measuring wellbeing which will support local authorities and their partners in the shift to CAA, and in their placeshaping role, by improving their understanding of the feelings and experience of residents and those using local services. It recognises and values existing work in this area and aims to encourage more councils, health bodies, police forces, fire and rescue authorities and others responsible for local public services to develop their practice in relation to measuring and taking action on wellbeing at the local level; this report recommends a three-tiered approach for local authorities trying to measure wellbeing at the local level:

Universal – an overall, cross-cutting measure of people’s experience of life
Domain – measures of different dimensions of people’s wellbeing, like health or community safety
Targeted – measures of some of the underlying factors affecting people’s wellbeing, such as self-esteem.

This report was developed by the Local Wellbeing Project in collaboration with the New Economics Foundation, with the support of the Audit Commission.

Community wellbeing Methods & Measurement

Posted on: 30 September 2008

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