Future Generations: Well-being in Wales: planning today for a better tomorrow

The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires Public Services Boards to publish a local assessment of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being.

The Commissioner sees these assessments as the first indicator of their readiness to challenge business as usual and embrace new ways of working.

A report – https://futuregenerations.wales/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FGCW_Well-being_in_Wales-Planning_today_for_a_better_tomorrow_2017_edit_27082017.pdf ‘Well-being in Wales: Planning today for a better tomorrow’ – contains 17 recommendations on the key areas of change needed for the public sector to make better decisions for future generations.

The key findings are:

Public Services Boards are to be congratulated for the positive approach taken to completing the assessments. They have taken an important first step in the right direction but the work highlights the real challenges ahead.

Active leadership will continue to be important. There is a need for a clearer demonstration of the willingness to do things differently. PSB members must make sure assessments are an opportunity to embed intelligence-led problem-solving on an on-going basis.

More work is needed to build a better understanding of people’s lives. The assessments showed clear effort but more needs to be done to move to an on-going conversation about the future, to draw on the information held by partners and day-to-day intelligence gathered by services working at the heart of communities.

The assessments highlight a number of alarming trends. PSBs need equipping with the skills, resources and expertise to better understand future trends, the needs of future generations and how to respond to these.

We need to dig deeper into data. The assessments should not just be a collection of data, they should be an opportunity to make connections between key issues and ask ‘so what’ is the result of the data. The understanding and skills to do this across organisations is limited and needs to be further developed.

Issues are often still being tackled in isolation. PSBs need to demonstrate a broader understanding of well-being – rooted in all seven well-being goals and recognising the connections between issues.

The report is the result of the Commissioner’s work with a range of people including a partnership with Netherwood Sustainable Futures, Cardiff University and Mark Lang Consulting to provide insight into how Public Services Boards have approached the assessments. This helped the Commissioner provide individual feedback to all of the 19 Public Services Boards on their assessments which was informed by an independent report.

Public Services Boards members together with representatives from across the public sector and people who came to share their real life experiences, gathered at an “unconference” hosted by the Commissioner to explore the issues raised in the report.

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