Photo of Chris Ruane

Chris Ruane (Opposition Whip (Commons); Vale of Clwyd, Labour)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which UK (a) mindfulness and wellbeing research centres and (b) universities he (i) visited and (ii) corresponded with in developing the Wellbeing Index.

Photo of Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd (The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office; Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Conservative)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2012

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking which UK (a) mindfulness and wellbeing research centres and (b) universities have been (i) visited and (ii) corresponded with in developing the Wellbeing Index. (90883)

The ONS Measuring National Well-being Programme, led by the National Statistician, aims to develop and publish an accepted and trusted set of National Statistics to help people understand and monitor national well-being. National well-being is more than the sum of individual happiness or individual well-being. To measure national well-being we are capturing the quality of our lives, of which happiness is a part, but also the country's economic performance and environmental and sustainability issues.

The programme is underpinned by a communication and engagement workstream, providing links with Cabinet Office and policy departments, international organisations, the public and other stakeholders. The programme started with a national debate, receiving 34,000 responses, including a number of experts such as academics and research organisations. ONS also held 175 events around the UK, where members of the public joined in at live debates and round table discussions. Further details of the events held, organisations who responded and technical submissions received are available in the supplementary paper "Findings from the National Well-being Debate":

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/wellbeing-knowledge-bank/understanding-wellbeing/well-being-reports-and-articles.html

The programme is supported by a Technical Advisory Group and a Well-being Advisory Forum, both of which have members from the academic and research communities, full membership lists are available here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/index.html

ONS are currently in the middle of a targeted three month formal consultation, on a draft set of domains and measures. It began on 31 October 2011 and will close on 23 January 2012. The consultation is available on-line:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/about-ons/consultations/open-consultations/measuring-national-well-being/index.html

ONS will continue to engage with organisations, policy makers, academic/expert leads, think tanks, third-sector, business and interested others to get their views. This will ensure that UK well-being measures are relevant and impartial and improve our understanding of the UK's society.

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