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Carnegie UK and Northumbria University launch guide to wellbeing roundtables

5th September 2023

A new guide designed to help government deliver on local priorities has been launched by Carnegie UK and the Northumbria University.

The approach outlined in the document has been endorsed by North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Informed by initiatives from the North of Tyne, Scotland and Wales the document explains how local, regional or national governments can establish a wellbeing roundtable. The guide outlines an approach where representatives and experts come together to identify what matters most to local people. This information is then used to create a framework – a system to track these issues and to underpin initiatives to improve quality of life. 

Outlining the approach they took locally Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, said: "We want economic growth for the region. But this can’t come at the cost of other important things. Our health. Our relationships. Our homes. Our ability to participate as citizens. Our access to green spaces.  Growth that damages these things isn’t growth at all. And it isn’t good for anyone.

“So, we worked with a roundtable of experts to come up with an evidence based guide - which balances the social, economic, environmental, and democratic needs of our residents and region. The roundtable was enormously helpful by providing a diversity of thought and helping drive forward this ambitious programme of work.”

Katherine Scrivens, policy analyst at the OECD, said: “The existence of a wellbeing framework is not enough to ensure its use in decision making and its impact in policy implementation.

“The Wellbeing Roundtable approach shows clearly how collaborative, iterative and evidence-based ways of working, involving stakeholders from across government and society, are needed to put people’s well-being at the heart of policy practice.”

Ahead of an event in Newcastle marking the publication Jennifer Wallace, director of policy and evidence at Carnegie UK, said: “The pandemic followed by a cost-of-living crisis has led to many people across the UK questioning whether we’re tackling the right problems in the right way.

“Our new guide is for local political and civic leaders asking those questions, and looking for an alternative approach based on improving the collective wellbeing of citizens. It is a tool to make a difference for decision-makers who recognise that we need to develop new ways to tackle the biggest issues of our time.”

‘The Wellbeing Roundtable approach: a guide to creating effective wellbeing frameworks’ has been written by Dr Max French at Northumbria University with wellbeing policy experts at Carnegie UK, a charitable foundation that focuses on public policy.

Dr Max French, assistant professor at Northumbria's Newcastle Business School, said: “Over the last two decades, academic and government interest in wellbeing public policy has increased substantially. However, these new ideas won’t make a difference unless people have the confidence to turn them into action.

“This new policy guide takes instruction from experts working with 11 national and international examples of groundbreaking wellbeing policy. The document is designed to help interested policymakers and officials with the practicalities associated with taking such an approach.” 

National governments taking a wellbeing approach include Australia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, Finland and Iceland.

The project has been supported by Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE) a project to improve links between universities and all spheres of government in England.

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