Jane Hutt MS, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip
The past year has been an unprecedented period of uncertainty and challenge, one which has impacted every aspect of our lives. Although the challenge of the pandemic remains it is important we begin to lay the foundations for a sustainable future. In particular, it remains crucial for us to continue to take an evidence based and long-term approach to leading Wales out of the pandemic. Key to shaping Wales’ future is how we measure Wales’ progress through our National well-being Indicators, shape the future direction through the setting of National Milestones, and understand what might shape Wales’ future through a Future Trends Report for Wales.
We consulted on the development of the National Milestones and some changes to the National Indicators in 2019. Since then as well as responding to the coronavirus pandemic we have faced a number of other extraordinary challenges with profound implications for Wales, including addressing the climate emergency, tackling systemic inequality and preparing for Wales’ changed place in the world after Brexit. We recognise that each of these challenges has fundamental implications for the future of Wales and understanding their impact has been vital in developing our approach.
The pandemic in particular has disrupted our ability to collect some of the data we rely upon to measure progress towards some of our Indicators and has caused some delays to the planned work on the revision of some Indicators and development of Milestones following the consultation.
Although we continue to face sustained challenges, we are now in a position to start work on the Future Trends Report, restart the important work on the development of National Milestones for Wales and make some small changes to the National Indicators. Taken together they will play an important supporting role in providing direction for Wales in the future as we move towards reconstruction and recovery.
To reaffirm our commitment, we have published a roadmap for 2021 setting an accelerated timescale for delivery given the urgent challenges we face and the progress we have made since the consultation. As well as setting National Milestones and making changes to the National Indicators, this plan also outlines the development of the Future Trends Report which will provide a valuable source of information on the trends likely to shape Wales’ future, and support the work of public bodies and Public Services Boards.
The activity set out in this plan has implications for public bodies and Public Services Boards and there will be an opportunity for these organisations and wider stakeholders to be engaged in the activity we plan to deliver this year. Although the continued pressures we face may continue to impact on what we can deliver, I am pleased to publish this plan, the next step in our commitment to accelerate the embedding of the Well-being of Future Generations approach across our work and across Wales.
To support this national implementation I have established a cross sector stakeholder advisory forum. The forum will gather stakeholder perspectives on key issues, opportunities and barriers to the implementation of the WFG Act; share innovative practice; and, provide a mechanism for discussion between Government and stakeholders on key matters relating to further implementation of the WFG Act.