My role


How local authorities can promote 'well-being'

A week after PM David Cameron said he would ask the Office of National Statistics to start measuring the UK's wellbeing,  councils are being advised on the role they should play.

A new report, The Role of Local Government in Promoting Wellbeing, published by Local Government Improvement and Development (LGID) and the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU), and written by nef (the new economics foundation) argues that focusing on wellbeing can help local government respond to significant reductions in its finances, by preventing long-term problems .

The NMHDU calls on councils to 'make the most of the unprecedented opportunity' they have 'to reshape their role'.

Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services, Department of Health, said: 'Putting local communities and their councils in the driving seat of public health is critical to the Coalition Government's plans. A big difference can be made if the right action is taken early in people's lives. The right support at the right time can help people become more resilient and realise their potential.

'This is good for the individual and good for society too. This report maps out how a smarter, more local approach can deliver results. Our upcoming Mental Health Strategy and the Public Health White Paper will set out how community capacity can be built up and the role of local leadership in driving change.'

Highlighting examples of councils who are doing pioneering work in this area, the report recommends practical measures across five areas of local authority activity:

  1. Those responsible for strategic leadership in a council should develop an overarching vision and framework for wellbeing - eg Liverpool
  2. Commissioning and service design should have wellbeing at their heart - eg Lancashire Partnership
  3. Empower communities by building on the assets of local people, involving them to create the Big Society - eg Haringey Council
  4. Focus on staff to improve their own wellbeing and that of local people, and use procurement and recruitment to strengthen the local economy - eg Nottingham City Council
  5. Measure wellbeing outcomes systematically - eg Councils and PCTs in the North West

Page created on November 22nd, 2010

Page updated on November 22nd, 2010