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Government agrees to begin work on a Well-Being Framework for Ireland

The Government has agreed on an approach to begin work on an overarching Well-being Framework for Ireland. A Framework for Wellbeing is a way of establishing a well-rounded, holistic view of how our society is performing, alongside the existing economic measurement tools. The Framework will be used across Government to inform policy-making, complementing existing tools for policy analysis.

Announcing the initiative, The Taoiseach said:

‘I am delighted to announce that work will begin on a Well-Being Framework for Ireland, which is a key commitment in the Programme for Government. We are all very familiar with the economic measurements of how our country is doing. We also know how our well-being and living standards, individually and as a nation, depends on much more besides. The framework will give us a more complete, holistic picture of where we are and where we need to be and will be a valuable asset as we make policy into the future’.

The development of the Well-Being Framework will be led by the Departments of the Taoiseach, Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, alongside a Working Group chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach involving a broad range of Government Departments, the Central Statistics Office and the National Economic and Social Council. The initial results of this work will be submitted to Government in Summer 2021; full development of the Framework will be an iterative process over a number of years.

The development of the Framework will be supported by consultation and engagement to ensure it reflects the priorities of Irish society and the diversity of people’s lived experiences. The National Economic and Social Council will play an important role as the vehicle for this consultation.

Notes for editors:

The development of new measures of well-being and progress was a commitment in the Programme for Government, in recognition that in order to achieve a well-rounded policy-making system there is a pressing need to move beyond uniquely economic measures.

Internationally, much work has been done in the well-being/living standards sphere, in recognition that macro-economic indicators do not provide a comprehensive picture of people’s standard of living and societal progress. In particular, the OECD Framework for Measuring Well-being and Progress provides a helpful structure for this work and has been used by many countries.

This initiative will build on the extensive work already undertaken in the area, including a recent Department of Finance research paper ‘Wellbeing and the Measurement of Broader Living Standards in Ireland’, the OECD framework, international experience and existing Irish work in the area, in particular from the CSO.

The Framework’s purpose is to complement existing economic tools and measures not to replace them. It will facilitate analysis of complex policy decisions across Government Departments and agencies, and will be a useful addition in particular to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the context of public spending reforms, as well as the wider Budgetary process.