The first in the latest series of APPG meetings on Wellbeing Economics was held on 11th December 2013 under the heading “Culture and Wellbeing”. The role that evidence about wellbeing plays in shaping policy on cultural activities was discussed.
Tony Butler, Happy Museum
Daniel Fujiwara, London School of Economics and Happy Museum
Charlotte Jones, Independent Theatre Council
Alan Davey, Arts Council
Gareth Maeer, Heritage Lottery Fund
Dave O’Brien, City University London
David Lammy MP, Helen Goodman MP, Lord (Alan) Howarth
It emerged from the discussion that evidence about wellbeing could be used to serve three key roles:
- To make a case for increased spending on culture by attaching monetary values to the benefits created by participation in cultural activities
- To help policy makers maximise the impact of culture policy in terms of increasing wellbeing by understanding whose wellbeing benefits most from different cultural activities, and understanding how cultural policy may be complimentary to policy in other sectors, such as health
- To help those working in the industry to maximise the impact of their work in terms of increasing wellbeing, by using the evidence to encourage cultural providers to think about the purpose of their work, and inform their strategic decision making,
It was stated that more research is needed in this area to pinpoint which aspects of culture benefit wellbeing, and to be able to prove causation in order to better inform action in these areas.
The Group is currently organising an inquiry into how policy can increase wellbeing without increasing public expenditure. This will take place over a series of meetings at which expert witnesses will appear and answer questions from members.
The first of these was held on the 11th December 2013 on what the wellbeing evidence tells us about how best to support ‘culture’
The following meetings are planned and details of dates and venues will be available shortly:
How can government use wellbeing evidence to guide labour market policy (for example the trade-off between job security and extra jobs)?
What is the role of mindfulness in the health, education and criminal justice systems?
The precise topic to be confirmed, but on the built environment or transport
Our latest event was loosely based on some of the analysis of the new subjective wellbeing data collected by the Office for National Statistics. This data has shown, for example, that the highest levels of wellbeing are found on the small islands of the British Isles, and the lowest levels of wellbeing are found in London and the Welsh Valleys. These regional differences persist even when levels of deprivation have been taken into account. The panel discussed why there are clear differences in the levels of subjective wellbeing reported across the UK, and what policy-makers might be able to do about it.
- Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of the London Borough of Newham
- Dr George Kavetsos, London School of Economics
- Councillor Jim Hakewill, Kettering Borough Council
- David Lammy MP
A recording of the panel speeches can be found here. Unfortunately, owing to a technical fault only the first two panel contributions were recorded. The powerpoint presentation of the third speaker, Jim Hakewill, can be found here
On November 20 2012, David Lammy was voted the new Chair of the APPG on Wellbeing Economics. David is the MP for Tottenham and served 9 years (2001-10) as a Minister in the last Labour government. You can find out more about David here: http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/
In December 2011, Jo Swinson MP, the Chair of the APPG on Wellbeing Economics spoke at the Business Well-Being Network annual conference in London. She gave and overview of the Office of National Statistic’s work on measuring wellbeing; gave examples of policies that could boost wellbeing in the workplace; and highlighted evidence that boosting wellbeing had positive knock-on effects for business productivity.
Here is a clip of part of the speech.
On Thursday 12th July, the APPG on Wellbeing Economics will be holding a speaker meeting: ‘Lessons from Costa Rica? Topping the Happy Planet Index’.
The event is open to the public and you are very welcome to attend.
Please RSVP using the following link: www.appgwbeconomics.eventbrite.co.uk.
As you may know, the New Economics Foundation recently published its ‘Happy Planet Index’ which ranks countries according to their wellbeing and environmental sustainability. For the second time running, Costa Rica has topped the table.
Given that the Rio 20+ conference concluded that sustainable development goals can only be achieved where populations can reach a state of physical, mental and social well-being, this is something that we should all take note of.
We have an eminent panel including:
- Her Excellency Ms Pilar Saborio de Rocafort, Costa Rican Ambassador to the UK.
- Juliet Michaelson, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation), and co-author of The Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report
- Séverine Deneulin: Lecturer in international development at the University of Bath.
The panellists will discuss how Costa Rica manages combine such high levels of wellbeing and such low environmental impact, and what the lessons are for the UK. After each panellist has spoken, there will then be the chance to put your questions to them in a Q&A session.
The full details of the event are:
Lessons from Costa Rica? Topping the Happy Planet Index
2:15pm-3:30pm, Thursday 12th July
Committee Room 11
Speakers: Pilar Saborio de Rocafort, Juliet Michelson, Séverine Deneulin
Chair: Baroness Claire Tyler
If you wish to attend, please RSVP using the following link: www.appgwbeconomics.eventbrite.co.uk.
Last week the APPG on Wellbeing Economics held a meeting to explore whether promoting employee wellbeing could boost workplace productivity. You can listen to a recording of the event here: http://www.nef-consulting.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Well-being%20APPG%20May%202012.mp3