Monitoring and Assessing
The Commissioner is required to monitor and assess the extent to which well-being objectives set by public bodies are being met. This duty seeks to ensure public bodies are moving closer to their objectives and contributing to the national well-being goals. Every five years, the Commissioner must publish an overall assessment and recommendations for improvement in a Future Generations Report.
In April 2017, public bodies across Wales covered by the Act were required to publish their well-being objectives and steps for the first time, showing how they will improve the social, environmental, economic and cultural well-being of Wales and contribute to the seven national well-being goals.
My team analysed the collective 345 well-being objectives and the many more steps underpinning them to understand the common themes emerging and advise on how public bodies should accelerate the pace of change.
I published these findings, advising public bodies on how they should also fulfil their duty to report annually on progress towards their well-being objectives in my report “Well-being in Wales: the journey so far.”
Working alongside the Auditor General for Wales through our Memorandum of Understanding, I am monitoring and assessing the progress public bodies are making towards their well-being objectives.
In 2018/19, I developed a methodology in collaboration with the public bodies based on self-reflection and peer review. A self-reflection tool was completed by each public body and, following a period of shared learning with other public bodies, I provided detailed individualised advice to each public body on how to improve both the content of the objectives and to meet them quicker and better.
The overall findings of this exercise were published in December 2019 in a report ‘Progress towards the Well-being of Future Generations Act’ and can be summarised as:
- There are some excellent examples of innovation that the Act is bringing about across Wales. However, public bodies need to consider and present a more coherent picture of how the organisation is collectively maximising its contribution to the seven national well-being goals.
- The Welsh Government has not sufficiently resourced the implementation of the Act.
- Progress is being made towards meeting well- being objectives in some areas, but there is variation in how public bodies apply the Act.
- More progress and pace are needed in the corporate areas for change.
- The quality of objectives and steps set in 2017- 18 did not always meet the aspirations and the requirements of the Act.
The monitoring and assessing of progress to date has been a major undertaking and my findings underpin many of the recommendations in my Future Generations Report.
The Auditor General for Wales
I work closely with the Auditor General for Wales, who has a complementary duty under the Act. The Auditor General must undertake at least one examination in each public body in a five-year period. The examination seeks to find out the extent to which the public body has used the sustainable development principle in setting their well-being objectives and taking steps to meet them.
The complementary nature of our functions, in addition to the ethos of the legislation (integration, collaboration and involvement in particular) means we work closely together to seek to align out functions. It is paramount to us that we do not send conflicting messages to public bodies and that we pull together in the same direction to drive the deep and right changes towards the Wales we want.
You can read the Auditor General for Wales’ 2020 report here