This post was informed by the discussion at our recent ‘How we need to talk about the 4 pillars’ event held online on 22nd April 2022, in conversation with the Public Services Boards (PSBs) we are working with through Prosiect Dewi. We heard feedback and examples of different ways of thinking about well-being and taking opportunities to align our work with conversations that may not be thought of as traditional methods of engagement. Dan has captured some key learning points from the session.

As part of the Well-being Assessments and ongoing Well-being Plans, defining cultural, economic, environmental and social well-being (the 4 pillars) doesn’t appear to be a straightforward practice.

There’s been a fear of getting it wrong amongst PSB officers. Directives from the Future Generations Commissioner’s office about ensuring Well-being Assessments encapsulate the four pillars, have led to the perceived safest route: directly asking questions about the four pillars. Thiese can be intangible concepts which are difficult for the public to talk about.

If abstract language like for example “economic well-being” is being used, we should provide at least three examples of what that means, so that people can relate to the question in some way. We build our ongoing engagement around real, tangible topics that enable us to open up conversations.

The Well-being Assessments are still being treated like a consultation. Now that PSBs are moving into the planning stage, there’s a real opportunity to establish what it means to understand well-being by seeking out and embracing the organic conversations happening in our communities. We can shine a spotlight on good practice by using real engagement to inform our work.

Top tip! Use surveys to fill the gaps you can’t fill with conversations, rather than using conversations to fill the gaps you can’t fill with surveys. When you speak to more people directly, you gain better insights into your communities.

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