Measuring wellbeing & happiness

As a council, we report how we are delivering through our Corporate Delivery Plan, Outcomes Framework performance and council-facilitated community activity from our platform Newham Co-Create, as well as our community assemblies. I’ve blogged before about the resident insight we have and how we’re improving our understanding of what residents are doing to improve our local area.

As part of our outcomes framework, we have developed a survey to help us understand more about Newham residents’ livelihood, wellbeing, and happiness and the issues that matter to people and their families. It will also help us understand more about people’s views of their local area and improve how we work with them to make Newham a better place.

It will measure a range of resident experiences & behaviours, but these below are those related to happiness & wellbeing:

We have just completed fieldwork and will be starting the analysis of our survey of residents. We have used a representative sample of 1,000 residents in terms of our protected equality characteristics.

The analysis will help understand key relationships between different factors, broken down by each demographic and area and be benchmarked to regional & national data.

2. What we can learn from other wellbeing frameworks

We are learning from other frameworks for measuring wellbeing at a local level. What we have found is that those frameworks depend on the organisation’s

  • Ability to survey perceptions of residents
  • Dependence on regional/national sources
  • Ability to embed measurement in daily activity

Wellbeing indexes developed by research institutes will prefer to blend recent & less recent data to be more comprehensive and to provide more visual overviews.

The Coop’s Community Wellbeing Index is the leading example with an easy to use website for citizens and a tool for organisations to track different scores in each neighbourhood.

3. Alternative ways to measure wellbeing

We have also identified other ways to measure wellbeing

  • Using proxies to predict people’s happiness & wellbeing (a similar approach to using Google search analysis to predict flu trends)
  • Using citizen scientists to self-report data on their happiness & wellbeing to track influences
  • Use online/offline social network analysis to understand & improve social connections

We will be exploring these as part of existing work with citizen scientists, a focus on wellbeing from a neighbourhood perspective and embedding into services with a specific focus on the evaluation of services and using increasing people’s support networks as a key proxy for improving wellbeing.

This example is Londonscape by Cassie Robinson. which she blogged about here and here.




Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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