Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

National Accounts of Well-being

Here's a note from our friends at the new economics foundation:

National Accounts of Well-being: bringing real wealth onto the balance sheet

We are pleased to forward a copy of our latest report, National Accounts of Well-being: bringing real wealth onto the balance sheet, released by the centre for well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) on Saturday 24 January 2009.

The report reveals that the UK fares poorly in comparison to a range of European nations and presents some key challenges for policy-makers. On the two headline indicators within the framework devised by nef, the UK ranks only 13th for personal well-being and 15th for social well-being, out of 22 European nations surveyed. The findings also show that people in the UK aged 16-24 report the lowest level of trust and belonging – a key element of social well-being – anywhere in Europe. We believe this is due to a complex web of interrelated factors in part created by an emphasis on maximising economic growth to the exclusion of other concerns.

A growing range of academics, commentators and policy-makers have been increasingly calling for new measures of progress; National Accounts of Well-being are the first comprehensive attempt to make this a reality. The report and website, were compiled using data collected in the European Social Survey, which carried out over 40,000 interviews with people across 22 nations and provides the most comprehensive international analyses of well-being ever produced.

nef is calling for National Accounts of Well-being to be adopted by government as a powerful tool to significantly enhance the effectiveness of public policy-making and to provide a new way of assessing societal progress. The current period of economic, social and environmental uncertainty has thrown into sharp relief the inadequacies of GDP as a meaningful measure of the progress of nations and the well-being of citizens. Where the emphasis on growth-based indicators has led to a narrow measure of human welfare and takes no account of how fairly resources are distributed, or the social and environmental damage caused by a myopic focus on growth alone, introducing National Accounts of Well-being would provide a timely and effective way to refocus policy-making on the things that really matter – delivering a better quality of life for all.

We hope you enjoy reading the report, and would welcome your comments.

Yours sincerely,

Corrina Cordon
nef Public Affairs Manager


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