As well as providing advice on my areas of focus, I also respond to requests for advice and assistance, using the criteria below.

Requests for advice are assessed against these criteria:

  • Does it come within our priority areas or other work we have done already?
  • Are there significant or quick opportunities to deliver against our strategy and impacts?
  • Is there a significant risk of us doing (or not doing) the work?
  • How could the project contribute to the achievement of the well-being goals, their definition, the sustainable development principle or the four pillars of well-being?
  • Can we resource the work – see below?
  • What is the potential for knowledge transfer

The number of requests for my advice has increased dramatically over the years (from 180 requests in 2018/19 to 321 in 2019/20), and my priority is to support the 19 Public Services Boards and 44 public bodies that come under the Act and in particular Welsh Government who set national policies that impact on everyone.

A graph showing how many requests for advice and assistance we receive, and by whom

My responsive advice falls in two categories: generic advice and tailored advice.

This pyramid shows the different levels of advice and assistance we offer

Generic Advice – Creating inspiring resources and guidance

To answer the majority of the requests that fall outside the remit of my criteria and to ensure the greatest number of people, including the public bodies, Public Services Boards but also other sectors and individuals, can find some of the help they need around the Act, I have been developing generic resources.

  • Art of the possible - Journeys towards each of the goals
    Art of the possible - Journeys towards each of the goals

    Art of the Possible drew on the collective intelligence of people and organisations across Wales to explain and explore the practical implications for public services of maximising their contribution to each of the well-being goals. It offers a menu of gradual actions from simple to ambitious that public bodies should take, which my office will monitor over time, and highlighted the interconnections between the goals. They
    also contained a body of good practice and further resources which public bodies can use to demonstrate how their behaviours and actions are in line with the Act.

  • Future Generations Frameworks
    Future Generations Frameworks

    I have continued to promote and encourage public bodies and others to use the guidance and prompts in my ‘future generation frameworks’ to help apply the Act to Infrastructure Projects, Service Design and Scrutiny.

    These Frameworks have formed a key part of the responsive advice and it is encouraging to see how their use is growing and already bringing about procedural and practical change.


  • Futures

    Helping public bodies to think long-term and embrace a futures perspective is core to my
    duties and to what public bodies and Public Services Board need to do under the Act. In 2019, I published a specific resource, the Three Horizons Toolkit, in response to a growing interest within my office and public bodies to take a long-term approach and better understand future trends. The Toolkit has been developed jointly with Public Health Wales to help public bodies make decisions that stand the test of time. It is based on a model developed by Bill Sharpe and the International Futures Forum.

Tailored Advice

When queries are aligned with my internal criteria, I consider giving tailored advice (depending on the capacity on my team). This can range from a single tailored email to a full joint working exercise over several days called a Live Lab.

Most of my advice falls in the middle – involving meeting an organisation several times and providing detailed advice on several drafts of a policy or proposal, like I have done in relation to planning, transport and housing for example.

  • Detailed, innovative advice - Live Labs
    Detailed, innovative advice - Live Labs

    As part of responding to requests for assistance from public bodies I have developed a model for extensive advice called a Live Lab.’ This is the most detailed level of support I can offer which uses the Act, coupled with futures thinking and tools, to help public bodies explore the requirements of the Act, futures considerations and their consequences for developing new policies and practice.

    A “Live Lab” is a creative process we can use to:

    • bring about significant improvements in well-being in your area
    • explore complex problems and opportunities from the perspective of future generations
    • challenge the “business as usual” approach
    • test ways of delivering significant changes in policy design and service delivery

    We have used the word “live” because the labs will be about practice not theory – about practical action and making change happen.

    We have used the word “lab” to underline our intention to create a protected space where together we can experiment and innovate.

    A Live Lab is about putting into action the changes you want to test out, assessing the impact of those changes and what you learned from implementing them, and making further improvements on your initial redesign to get closer to the result you want to see.

    I piloted my approach with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in 2018 drawing on the contribution of external ‘innovators’. The concept was further developed with two Live Labs this year – with Cwm Taf Public Service Board on the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences in 2019 and refined further with Welsh Government’s Housing Department to help them create a vision for housing within the context of wider place-making.

    The feedback from these has been very encouraging and I will be looking to see how I can continue to use this model as part of my advice and assistance to public bodies, going forward.

My intention is to put more of a focus on working closely with public bodies to help them use the available resources; my team and I are relentlessly working to inspire, advise and encourage public bodies to get Wales closer to the achievement of the goals.

More detail about the number and type of requests I respond to each year can be found in my Annual Reports.