Our Future Focus
We’re really excited to be moving forward with Our Future Focus over the summer, which will be a period of intense data analysis! Thank you very much to all of you who have fed in some way via the involvement we have been doing over the past few months.
We are involving people in a number of ways to gather their views including via an online survey and events to gather feedback and ideas to inform Our Future Focus over the next seven years.
This work will establish priorities for our team in terms of areas of focus, and how we work in the future. It will help us take decisions on how we can most effectively allocate our time and resources to have the biggest impact for the well-being of current and future generations.
This will be the beginning of an ongoing process of involvement leading up to the next Future Generations Report (2025) and beyond, and will enable us to share our priorities later this year.
We’ve held over a hundred meetings with individual organisations, and met with many more via networks, roundtables, and bespoke events we’ve organised via our network of Changemakers.
We are also reviewing the responses to the Our Future Focus survey which has gathered a great deal of rich insight. These conversations have enabled us to get really close to what public bodies delivering the Well-being of Future Generations Act need in order to embed implementation further, as well as to how other organisations can help, and what is needed to enable the most effective collaboration possible across sectors.
We’ve heard from a wide range of businesses and voluntary sector organisations, in addition to those in the public sector, and had some really great cross-sectoral meetings.
In order to ensure that we are hearing the voices of groups who may not always be heard in policy making, we have also established fifteen community partnerships to feed lived experience from a diverse range of people into this work. We are learning a great deal from this part of the work which we are doing with organisations such as Credu, Beacons Cymru and the BAME Mental Health Network. We look forward to sharing our learning in terms not just of what we are hearing but of the process of working in this way.
More about Our Future Focus
Since I began on March 1, my team have been reviewing the process of setting work priorities which happened seven years ago when the Office was first established. We’ve also been undertaking desk research and collaborating with others to collate everything we have learned since then.
We have been using futures methodologies to embed long-term thinking into how we analyse the data we already have and involving stakeholders via an initial workshop to shape this work via the Three Horizons method.
Last time we set our areas of focus we used a range of involvement methods including desk research, panels of experts, consultations with stakeholders and the public via SenseMaker, and round table events. This helped us choose areas of focus identified as having the greatest potential to improve all four dimensions of well-being (environmental, cultural, social and economic).
These areas have informed our work over the last seven years and helped form a basis for deciding what to get involved with. For example, we worked with Welsh Government to ensure the Act is reflected in their key planning guidance, Planning Policy Wales, and our work to influence the new Curriculum for Wales and ensure our children and grandchildren are well-equipped for the future.
Much more is known now about the status of the seven well-being goals in Wales, how the Act is being implemented by public bodies and what the barriers to implementation are.
The office has undertaken a wide range of research and involvement, including the Future Generations 2020 Report and two Section 20 Reviews (procurement and Welsh Government’s implementation of the Act). The movement behind the Act has also grown with many other organisations undertaking reviews and publishing thinking on the Act and its implementation. Welsh Government has published annual Well-being of Wales Reports and well as two Future Trends reports.
We will build on all of this knowledge, as well as the foundations we built the first time, to enable us to establish areas of focus within six months.
While much has happened and changed over the last seven years, the major long-term trends affecting Wales (and the rest of the world) as identified in the previous priorities setting activity remain largely unchanged. These include the climate and nature emergencies, economic prosperity, the technological revolution, demographic change, social change and rapid urbanisation.
So what’s next?
The next steps for this work include clustering the information into high-level themes and prioritising these themes to help us understand where we can have the biggest impact for the well-being of current and future generations.
We have gathered information about:
- The challenges that are faced
- The barriers to overcoming them
- Where our role as an office can uniquely help to unblock the system
We are now involving a range of experts with both lived and professional experience from across all the four dimensions of well-being to help us with prioritisation and to ensure that we get to the root causes of barriers to implementing the Act and achieving well-being.
We are also pleased to be working with Urban Foundry, Wales’ second B Corp, who are helping us to develop a ‘theory of change’ to underpin this work. This means we will ensure that we have a strategy for the next seven years with a really clear link between what we do, and the change we make.
To ensure we are improving all four dimensions of well-being across all seven well-being goals, in every community in Wales, we will be focusing on the ‘how’ and where our role as an Office would be most impactful.
To help us do this we’ve outlined several ‘Camau’, (‘Steps’ in Welsh). These camau include:
- Desk research, collating information from partners, and analysing information we already have (e.g conversations with public bodies and Public Services Boards, public correspondence, Commissioner’s events and more)
- Futures sessions with stakeholders to review our work so far and our proposed approach to next steps
- Forming a Steering Group to help inform this process
- Involving and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders and partners via meetings, events and existing networks
- Gathering feedback via an online survey to be launched towards the end of April
- Analysing what we’ve gathered through the above camau and using Futures methodology to help us determine our own role and strategic steps going forward
- Testing our analysis results and sharing outcomes
This work is due to complete in the Autumn.