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Introduction

The Programme for Government (June 2021) sets out the 10 well-being objectives that the government will use to maximise its contribution to Wales’ 7 long-term well-being goals and the steps we will take to deliver them.

This document, the Well-being Statement, sets out how we have set our well-being objectives in line with our statutory duty under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (the Act).

It outlines:

  • How our well-being objectives were set, including how we have set them in accordance with the sustainable development principle.
  • How our well-being objectives maximise our contribution to the well-being goals as specified in the Act.
  • How we will take the steps needed to meet the well-being objectives, supported by effective resourcing and governance.

Our well-being objectives for 2021 to 2026

The Programme for Government sets out the 10 well-being objectives which we believe will make the greatest contribution towards the well-being goals.

Each well-being objective is accompanied by the individual steps which we propose to take. There are specific steps against each of the 10 well-being objectives – these are set out in the Programme for Government, and we will report on our progress annually as required by the Act.

Our well-being objectives draw on the areas that are devolved to us under the Government of Wales Act 2006, and also consider how we can best use the broader levers at our disposal to help achieve the 7 well-being goals. They focus on the key enablers which allow people and communities to prosper and thrive both now and in the future, as well as ensuring we preserve and restore Wales’ natural environment and resources for future generations.

Welsh Ministers have a distinctive role under the Act as their duty to set well-being objectives is triggered every 5 years by the Senedd Cymru election. The 2021 Senedd Cymru election provided an opportunity for people across Wales, including for the first time 16 and 17 year olds, to have their say on the action needed to create a stronger, greener, fairer Wales for current and future generations. Our well-being objectives are designed to reflect this powerful electoral voice, ensuring that people can see the future they voted for happen in practice.

Our well-being objectives will focus on the areas where action is needed to respond and recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, whilst also laying out a stable foundation for the future. They will enable us to make a difference for everyone, at every stage of their lives, irrespective of where they live, their background or circumstances.

Each well-being objective contributes to all, or a number of the well-being goals and both the well-being objectives and steps will be kept under review. Importantly, the well-being objectives continue the journey towards achieving the 7 well-being goals.

The 10 well-being objectives

The 10 well-being objectives are:

  • Provide effective, high quality and sustainable healthcare.
  • Continue our long-term programme of education reform, and ensure educational inequalities narrow and standards rise.
  • Protect, re-build and develop our services for vulnerable people.
  • Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms.
  • Build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future.
  • Push towards a million Welsh speakers, and enable our tourism, sports and arts industries to thrive.
  • Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation.
  • Make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work.
  • Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do.
  • Lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future, and give our country the strongest possible presence on the world stage.

How the well-being objectives were set

The well-being objectives have been designed to reflect our priorities for protecting and developing our economy, our society, our environment and our culture. They focus on key factors such as personal wellbeing, fair and rewarding work and open access to our rich national culture and environment – the factors that help everyone live meaningful and purposeful lives.

They are based on the functions that we exercise, both formal devolved powers and more informal levers of influence and cooperation – taking the lessons from previous government terms and using these to identify where we can do more or do things differently. They address the strategic challenges we face, including the climate and nature emergency.

Our well-being objectives are supported by the practical action we will take and will also help public bodies and individuals in Wales to maximise their own contribution to our country’s collective future.

In setting our well-being objectives we have taken account of the first Future Generations Report, which was published by the Future Generations Commissioner in May 2020. Since the report was published, the First Minister and Welsh Government have continued to engage with the Future Generations Commissioner, and this dialogue has been an important part of our ongoing consideration of the report.

The report includes suggested improvements under each well-being goal and a flowchart of how to set good well-being objectives, and we have considered these suggestions when defining our well-being objectives. We are confident that our wellbeing objectives and our planned approach to delivery will join the dots between areas and represent a radical and challenging programme of government. In line with the report’s suggestions, they are set out clearly in language which is easy to understand.

We have provided an illustration of how the well-being objectives contribute to each of the well-being goals below, and we will continue to use all reasonable opportunities to understand and exploit the connections across our well-being objectives.

The well-being objectives have been set in accordance with the sustainable development principle and the 5 ways of working:

  • Long term

    Our well-being objectives recognise the key current and future challenges facing Wales including the climate and nature emergency, the impact of four decades of deindustrialisation and the consequences of leaving the EU. They are also set in line with the Understanding Wales’ Future resource, drawing on our analysis of the global factors and local considerations which are likely to impact on Wales in the longer term.

    Our well-being objectives and the associated steps set out appropriate, long term actions to address the key strategic challenges Wales faces both now and in the future. Our approach to these challenges, and future reviews of our well-being objectives, will draw on the Future Trends Report 2021 once it is published.

  • Integration

    The well-being objectives relate to each other and form an integrated approach. They mutually reinforce each other by focussing on common themes such as strengthening our communities, supporting people across their life course and drawing on our vibrant culture and rich natural resources.

    As a set of well-being objectives they will build on progress towards the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, enabling us to take more sustainable action as we evaluate our key decisions in relation to the objectives.

    Importantly, the well-being objectives and steps have been designed to support an integrated approach to delivery. They will be collectively owned by the First Minister and Cabinet and progress will be reported to them regularly, ensuring that opportunities to deliver more through the integration of policies and programmes are identified early and acted upon.

  • Prevention

    Our well-being objectives have been designed to prevent problems from occurring or getting worse.

    They focus on acting quickly to identify challenges at an early stage across all areas of our work, giving people and communities the resources and support they need to thrive in a way which is sustainable.

    This is just as true on a longer term, strategic level. Our well-being objectives represent the areas where we need to work with partners to break down barriers, focus on the transition between services and understand the changing needs of people through the various stages of their lives, both now and in the future, wherever they live in Wales.

  • Involvement

    The 2021 Senedd Cymru election allowed people across Wales to have their say on the activity needed to create a better Wales. The well-being objectives reflect this electoral voice, ensuring the action people voted for is delivered in practice.

    The well-being objectives themselves and the steps towards them reflect the importance of continuous involvement across the Senedd term. They recognise that involving people in the policies and services that affect them is the best way to take a sustainable, needs-led approach to delivery. The well-being objectives consider all of our ongoing engagement with social partners and stakeholder groups, ensuring that the insight they provide is reflected in our approach.

    Our well-being objectives also draw on our ongoing conversations with people in Wales, such as the ‘Our Future Wales’ engagement exercise undertaken last year. Over 2,000 responses were received through the Our Future Wales mailbox, and an analysis of these responses has informed our well-being objectives.

  • Collaboration

    Maximising our contribution towards the well-being goals will require us to work closely with delivery partners and others, and this principle is firmly embedded in the well-being objectives. We will use the mechanisms at our disposal to engage, collaborate and succeed with others – working with stakeholders, progressive networks and diverse voices across Wales.

    Cooperation and collaboration rather than competition and division will underpin our well-being objectives including our commitment to work in social partnership. We will build on our collaborative response to the coronavirus pandemic that saw government and its partners working seamlessly and effectively to deliver at pace.

The cyclical nature of the legislation and setting of new well-being objectives after a Senedd Cymru election provides a regular mechanism to take stock and look forward to the next 5 years of action to further embed the Act at the heart of Government and everything it does.

We will continually improve and reflect on how we are acting in accordance with the sustainable development principle in delivering the well-being objectives, drawing on the regular engagement with our partners and stakeholders.

We have also considered the potential impact of our well-being objectives on other public bodies, and we will continue our approach to engaging with public bodies on the national implementation of the Act. We will use these existing mechanisms to understand the effect of our well-being objectives on other public bodies.

Maximising our contribution towards the well-being goals

Our well-being objectives reflect the areas where we can make the greatest individual and collective contribution to the well-being goals – particularly with regards to the most vulnerable in society.

The table sets out how each well-being objective contributes to the well-being goals in accordance with the sustainable development principle:

  1. A prosperous Wales
  2. A resilient Wales
  3. A healthier Wales
  4. A more equal Wales
  5. A Wales of cohesive communities
  6. A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language
  7. A globally responsible Wales

Direct contribution
Opportunity for broader contribution

Well-being objective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Provide effective, high quality and sustainable healthcare
Protect, re-build and develop our services for vulnerable people
Build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future
Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation
Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do
Continue our long-term programme of education reform, and ensure educational inequalities narrow and standards rise
Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms
Push towards a million Welsh speakers, and enable our tourism, sports and arts industries to thrive
Make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work
Lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future, and give our country the strongest possible presence on the world stage

It is important to emphasise that the well-being objectives should be understood not just in terms of their individual contribution to the well-being goals, but also through the lens of how they mutually reinforce each other as a closely aligned set.

This means that each of the well-being objectives makes a contribution to all of the goals at least indirectly, and that their cumulative value increases when they are combined. Each wellbeing objective takes us towards the well-being goals with meaning and purpose – but their full impact can only be seen when they are considered together.

Delivering against the well-being objectives

We are committed to exploring all reasonable steps within our powers to achieve the well-being objectives, and the commitments set out in our Programme for Government are the strategic steps and actions we will take. Embedding the well-being objectives in our Programme for Government ensures that they will sit at the heart of government from the outset and throughout this Senedd term.

This government is elected for the period 2021 – 2026 and in line with the Act our well-being objectives are set for this period. We expect to deliver the well-being objectives between 2021 – 2026, as part of our longer term obligations of improving outcomes for people and communities in Wales.

The well-being objectives and the corresponding steps will be collectively owned by the First Minister and Cabinet and supported directly by the First Minister’s office; ensuring that all parts of government are working together with urgency and pace.

The Welsh Government civil service will support Welsh Ministers in discharging their duties under the Act including delivery of the well-being objectives and steps in the Programme for Government. The Permanent Secretary is responsible for the ongoing action to embed the sustainable development principle in the Welsh Government civil service.

Our supporting paper to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the Well-being of Future Generations Act published in January 2021 sets out how we have embedded the Act into the workings of government over the past 5 years. The paper provided detail of those actions and the strategic implementation framework we put in place in 2020 to better reflect and communicate the breadth and scope of the Act within government. We will continue to take this approach as we deliver our well-being objectives this term.

As well as reporting progress towards our well-being objectives in our Annual Report, the Welsh Government Annual Accounts will continue to provide detail of how the civil service governs itself to deliver Welsh Ministers’ objectives – including how we are meeting our duties under the Act. The Act is designed to make sustainable development the central organising principle of government and public bodies, and we will ensure that the operation, governance and mechanics of government continues to improve to respond to these requirements.

We will use our budget process to ensure that resources are allocated to deliver the well-being objectives and the corresponding steps in each year of this term, and we will continue to publish the Budget Improvement Plan to show how we are refining and optimising this process. Our well-being objectives and broader obligations under the Act will be considered in the 2022-23 draft budget, which will be published alongside an updated Budget Improvement Plan.

We will continue to put involvement, engagement and collaboration at the forefront of our approach, drawing on the resources provided by the Well-being of Future Generations Commissioner’s Office as well as our own experiences and knowledge and that of our partners and stakeholders. We will listen to good ideas wherever they come from – this is a government committed to working together for the benefit of everyone.

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