Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
The Well-being of Future Generations Act gives us the ambition, permission and legal obligation to improve our social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.
The Act is unique to Wales attracting interest from countries across the world as it offers a huge opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations.
Seven Well-being GoalsTo make sure we are all working towards the same purpose, the Act puts in place seven well-being goals. The Act makes it clear the listed public bodies must work to achieve all of the goals, not just one or two.
“We have big ambitions for protecting our environment and the future generations in Wales and are leading the way with our Environment Act and Well–being of Future Generations Act”Sophie Howe | Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
The Sustainable Development principle
The Future Generations Act defines Sustainable Development in Wales as: “The process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, aimed at achieving the well-being goals.” It sets out five ways of working needed for Public Bodies to achieve the seven well-being goals. This approach provides an opportunity for innovative thinking, reflecting the way we live our lives and what we expect of our public services.
The Five Ways of Working
The importance of balancing short-term needs with the needs to safeguard the ability to also meet long-term needs
Considering how the public body’s well-being objectives may impact upon each of the well-being goals, on their objectives, or on the objectives of other public bodies
The importance of involving people with an interest in achieving the well-being goals, and ensuring that those people reflect the diversity of the area which the body serves
Acting in collaboration with any other person (or different parts of the body itself) that could help the body to meet its well-being objectives
How acting to prevent problems occurring or getting worse may help public bodies meet their objectives
There are 48 public bodies in Wales covered by the Act, which are required to use the sustainable development principle.
The Act also establishes Public Services Boards in each Local Authority area. They are required to assess the state of well-being locally, set objectives and produce a plan designed to improve economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in their local area, maximising their contribution to the well-being goals.
As well as auditing the accounts of Welsh public bodies, the Auditor General undertakes examinations of the extent to which public bodies have applied the sustainable development principle when setting and pursuing well-being objectives. In 2020, he published his first report that includes progress of using the five ways of working to set well-being objectives which you can read here.