Forthcoming meetings

Wellbeing approach in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Date: TBC
Chair: Chris Ruane

PAST meetings

Wellbeing and the Spending Review 2019
Date: Tuesday 5th March
Chair: Chris Ruane

The 2019 Spending Review presents an opportunity for the UK to be explicit about it’s goals and allocate spending accordingly.

The APPG on Wellbeing Economics will discuss how taking a wellbeing approach, that values and measures all the things that are most important to us and our lives, can help us to identify some key new priorities for spending, specifically in the context of mental health, schools, further education and community services.

This will be an open discussion to explore:

  • The value of a wellbeing approach for the spending review
  • The policy, spending and governance implications of a wellbeing approach

We encourage as many MPs and Peers as possible to attend and contribute their ideas and comments. These will feed into a paper being drafted which will develop some of these issues in different policy contexts, for wider dissemination.

Download the draft report: A Spending Review to increase wellbeing

Download the minutes from the meeting.

Measuring Children’s Wellbeing
Tuesday 18th December 2018
Chair: Chris Ruane

This meeting is an opportunity to review why measuring children’s wellbeing is important and what impact a systematic approach could have on policy making. It will then explore why we do not yet systematically measure the wellbeing of children.

Participants will discuss the strength of the case for measuring children’s wellbeing and what would help move measurement, as well as policy and practice forward for the UK to invest in better childhoods.

Speakers include

  • Gill Main, University of Leeds
  • Emma Rigby, Association of Young People’s Health
  • Karen Newbigging, University of Birmingham (standing in for Paul Burstow, Mental Health Policy Commission)
  • Leon Feinstein, Children’s Commissioner
  • Richard Crellin, The Children’s Society

Download the minutes from the meeting.

Download the annotated agenda including links to resources mentioned.

How should we measure national success? 

1st March 2016

Chair: Mark Easton, BBC News Home Editor

This event brought together parliamentarians and key players from across civil society and the business world to discuss the question: ‘How should we measure national success?’

The roundtable opened with a brief presentation by the New Economics Foundation, summarising their recent call on the ONS to adopt five headline indicators that focus on Good Jobs, Wellbeing, Environment, Fairness and Health, to ensure that policy-making reflects public priorities and engages the electorate. The presentation was followed by reflections from parliamentarians, and a roundtable discussion exploring the issues raised, and the possibilities of further parliamentary activity on this topic.

Hustings on wellbeing
24th March, 2015

This event brought together candidates from political parties to set out their party’s approach to wellbeing, and to answer questions from APPG members as well as the public audience in the traditional ‘hustings’ format.

The event was hosted by co-chair Baroness Claire Tyler, and chaired by Lord Gus O’Donnell.

The candidates were:
– For Labour: Helen Goodman MP
– For the Conservatives: Nick Hurd MP
– For the Liberal Democrats: Paul Burstow MP
– For the Greens: Dr. Rupert Read

APPG report launch: Wellbeing in four policy areas
14th October, 2014

This event launched the report resulting from the inquiry on mechanisms to increase wellbeing without increasing public expenditure.

Christine Berry, report author, introduced the report, with responses from a panel of speakers:
– Jon Cruddas MP, Labour Policy Review Co-ordinator
– Lord Gus O’Donnell, Former Cabinet Secretary
– Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment Relations & Consumer Affairs (founder of the APPG on Wellbeing Economics)

APPG Inquiry, Evidence session 5: Gus O’Donnell
9th June 2014

Our fifth and final evidence session took a step back from policy detail to explore overarching questions about the role of well-being in policy, and the challenges that must be overcome to accelerate the shift to a well-being approach. The keynote speaker was Lord Gus O’Donnell, who introduced his recent report as Chair of the Legatum Commission on Wellbeing and Policy.

The expert witnesses were:
– Lord Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary (keynote speaker)
– Lord Richard Layard, fellow Legatum Commissioner and member of the APPG as well as a leading expert on well-being economics
– Simon Fiander, Clerk to the Environmental Audit Committee, who gave an overview of their own recently published report on well-being

APPG Inquiry, Evidence session 4: Planning policy and wellbeing
12th May 2014

This session aims to explore three key questions:

  1. How can the planning system support well-being?
  2. How far is this in tension with the current focus on the need for planning to support growth?

The expert witnesses are:
– Kathy MacEwen, Head of Planning and Enabling, Design Council Cabe
– Anna Scott-Marshall, Head of External Affairs, Royal Institute of British Architects
– Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport
– Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner, Department for Communities and Local Government

APPG Inquiry, Evidence session 3: Mindfulness in health and education
9th April 2014

This session aimed to explore two key questions:

  1. What policy interventions related to mindfulness could improve wellbeing in the UK without increasing public expenditure?
  2. What are the barriers and opportunities for putting these interventions into practice? Are the key barriers specific to these particular interventions, or are there also general barriers relating to the value policymakers place on the wellbeing outcomes they could achieve?

The expert witnesses were:
– Professor Willem Kuyken, Exeter University
– Heema Shukla, Public Health England
– Dr Jonty Heaversedge
– Richard Burnett, Mindfulness in Schools Project
– Professor Katherine Weare, University of Southampton
– Dr Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College

APPG Inquiry, Evidence session 2: Labour markets and wellbeing
10th March, 2014

This session aims to explore two key questions:

  1. What would UK labour market policy look like if it was motivated by the aim of maximising well-being rather than growth?
  2. What changes would be needed (either in the policy process or in the evidence base) to make this approach a reality?

The expert witnesses were:
– David Norgrove, Chair, Low Pay Commission
– Dr Andrew Clark, Paris School of Economics
– Nicola Smith, Head of Economics & Social Affairs, TUC
– Stephen Bevan, Head of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, Work Foundation
– David Mobbs, Group Chief Executive, Nuffield Health

APPG Inquiry, Evidence session 1: Culture
11th December, 2013

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Wellbeing Economics held an inquiry into how policy can increase wellbeing without increasing public expenditure. This took place over a series of meetings at which expert witnesses appeared and answered questions from members, with a public audience. The results were published in a report in 2014.

The first meeting was on wellbeing and culture and addressed the questions:

  1. Can wellbeing evidence help us set and perhaps increase the culture budget overall, thereby increasing wellbeing?
  2. Can wellbeing evidence help set priorities within this budget, thereby increasing the wellbeing it generates?

The expert witnesses were:
– Tony Butler, Museum of East Anglian Life, Happy Museum Project
– Daniel Fujiwara, LSE, Independent Academic
– Charlotte Jones, Chief Executive of Independent Theatre Council
– Moira Sinclair, Executive Director, London and South East, Arts Council for England
– Gareth Maeer, Head of Research and Evaluation, Heritage Lottery Fund
– Dave O’Brien, City University, Independent Academic

Wellbeing across the UK: Why are there differences and what can we do about it?
12th March 2013

Analysis of the new subjective wellbeing data collected by the Office for National Statistics 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 at 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: Mayors Presentation March 2013

Lessons from Costa Rica? Topping the Happy Planet Index
12th July 2012

The speakers discussed why Costa Rica scored well across all three component measures used to calculate nef’s Happy Planet Index (HPI): life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint. They then discussed the lessons we can learn from this in terms of sustainable development paths and answered questions from the audience.

– Her Excellency Ms Pilar Saborio de Rocafort, Costa Rican Ambassador to the UK
– Juliet Michaelson, Senior Researcher, Centre for Well-being, the New Economics Foundation (NEF)
– Dr Séverine Deneulin, Lecturer in International Development, University of Bath

– Baroness Claire Tyler

Happy workers = Business growth?
17th May 2012

The panellists discussed whether promoting the wellbeing of employees helps increase workplace productivity and business profit, and then took questions from the audience.

– Tony Hsieh, CEO of $1billion company and New York Times bestselling author of ‘Delivering Happiness’
– Paul Litchfield, Chief Medical Officer of the BT Group
– Nic Marks, founder of the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) and Happiness Works

– Jo Swinson MP

A recording of the panel speeches can be found here.

Is economic growth essential for wellbeing?
31st January 2012

The meeting explored whether economic growth is essential to our wellbeing in the short and long-term; whether it is possible to move to a new economic model where growth, as currently understood, becomes unnecessary; and how we could we achieve greater wellbeing under such a model.


– Professor Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey
– Anna Coote: Head of social policy for the new economics foundation
– David Skelton: Deputy Director of the think tank ‘Policy Exchange’

– Jo Swinson MP

A recording of the panel speeches can be found here.

Wellbeing statistics: how will Whitehall respond?
2nd November 2011
Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, discussed how Whitehall could use the wellbeing statistics in the policy making and evaluation process. Sir Gus’s talk was preceded by a brief speech by Charles Seaford, Head of the Centre for Well-Being at the New Economics Foundation.

– Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of Civil Service
– Charles Seaford, Head of the Centre for Well-Being, New Economics Foundation

– Jo Swinson MP

A recording of Sir Gus’s speech can be found here.

Wellbeing and public policy
5th July 2011
Professor Seligman, founder of positive psychology and past President of the American Psychological Association, has written extensively on the subject of wellbeing, including Authentic Happiness (2002) and  Flourish, which was published earlier this month. He discussed the role of wellbeing in policy.

– Professor Martin Seligman
– Charles Seaford, Head of the Centre for Well-Being, New Economics Foundation

– Jo Swinson MP

Measuring wellbeing and the implications for policy
16th February 2011
The meeting explored the Office of National Statistic’s plans to measure ‘national wellbeing’ and how those statistics could be used in the policy making process.

– Jil Matheson, The National Statistician
– Rt. Hon. Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State for the Cabinet Office
– Jon Trickett MP, Shadow Minister of State for the Cabinet Office.

– Jo Swinson MP

The minutes of the meeting can be found here.

How does wellbeing economics help us deal with climate change?
28th October 2010
The meeting explored how efforts to promote wellbeing could be linked to the environmental agenda.

– Charles Seaford, Head of the Centre for Well-being, New Economics Foundation
– Professor Peter Victor, Professor in Environmental Studies at York University, Canada
– Professor Neva Goodwin, Co-Director of the Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, USA

– Stewart Wallis, Chief Executive, New Economics Foundation

The minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Well-being at work: does Government have a role?
21st July 2010
The meeting explored how wellbeing could be promoted in the workplace and whether Government had a role.

– Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology, University of Lancaster
– Professor Len Shackleton, Dean of the Business School, University of East London

-Jo Swinson MP

The minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Improving children’s wellbeing
2nd March 2010
The meeting explored the UK’s record on childhood wellbeing and it could be improved.

– Professor Stephen Scott, Institute of Psychiatry
– Senay Camgoz, UNICEF UK
– Susan Blishen, Mental Health Foundation/Paul Hamlyn Foundation
– Gary Watts, Right Here Young People’s Expert Board

– Jo Swinson MP

The minutes of the meeting can be found here.

Political perspectives on wellbeing
25th November 2009
Speakers from each political party put forward their perspective on wellbeing and the role of Government.

– Rt. Hon. Oliver Letwin MP
– Chris Huhne MP
– Professor Lord Richard Layard, Founder of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics

– Jo Swinson MP

The minutes of the meeting can be found here.