The work being done by National Statistics Offices around the world shows the scope for greater standardization in measuring wellbeing internationally.

But there will always be a need for measures that are specific to local, regional and national priorities.

Our civil society case-studies show how this works in practice, highlighting particular initiatives around children, cities, and work. The examples show real-life examples of how wellbeing measures can be used to set priorities, improve services, and develop and evaluate social policies.

Happy City is a UK-based charity and CIC with an ambitious aim: to shift the overarching goal of cities away from consumption and GDP towards the wellbeing of people, place and planet. For the past five years, we have developed and piloted practical tools for measuring and valuing wellbeing on a city scale.

The Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (Janaagraha) is a non-profit organisation based in Bengaluru, India. We aim to transform the quality of life in urban India, through systemic change. We work from the grassroots up to institute reforms to city-systems.

The Children’s Society is a UK charity that runs local projects to help vulnerable children and young people, and campaigns for improvements to laws affecting them. With the University of York, it is undertaking “the most extensive programme of national research on children’s subjective wellbeing globally”. 

The New Economics Foundation seeks to understand develop ways of integrating wellbeing into policy and promote it as an alternative measure of progress. GDP is just one number. Which alternative indicators could effectively replace it? Should we champion composite indicators, single indicators or a dashboard approach?

Looking at the headline figures, Scotland and the UK has a fairly positive story to tell on employment. But there is another story – one of stagnating wages, underemployment, and increasingly insecure, low-paid, and precarious work. Oxfam Scotland, with the University of West of Scotland, set out to find out what low-paid workers think is most important for ‘decent work’.