Stage 1: Developing your local Wellbeing Economy Story


Stage 1


This stage focuses on defining what collective wellbeing looks like within the specific geographical area and seeks to articulate that with a set of wellbeing outcomes that encompass the collective wellbeing of people, including current and future generations, and the planet. These are the end goals that the economic system should be designed to serve and should be based on the National Performance Framework (see Annex C) and tailored to the particular characteristics of the local area.

The NPF embeds ‘improved wellbeing’ within Scotland’s core purpose. To help achieve this purpose, the framework sets out 11 National Outcomes. These are population-level end results we want to be experienced by the people of Scotland. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 places a duty on public authorities to have regard to the National Outcomes in carrying out their functions. It belongs to the whole of Scotland, not just the Scottish Government and COSLA. The NPF has undergone extensive public participation in its development.

While stages one and two focus on gathering data to inform the evidence base, policy makers are encouraged to build in public and stakeholder participation from an early stage and throughout the process. More detail on participation and engagement is set out in stage three, with links to helpful resources in Annex E.

The forthcoming Local Wellbeing Economy Monitor, due for publication in December 2022, can be used to create a benchmark for a chosen local authority area on a range of indicators of wellbeing. This process will help to build a ‘wellbeing economy story,’ or a picture of the chosen area’s relative wellbeing across social, environmental, and economic dimensions that reflects local circumstances (see Box A).

These indicators should be viewed as a starting point, with users encouraged to supplement the Monitor with other sources of evidence relevant to local circumstances and priorities, for example from other available data and gathered through engagement with both internal and external stakeholders. Consideration should also be given to longer term wellbeing and resilience, taking account of evidence indicating stocks of natural, human, social and produced capital (see Annex A), such as different types of infrastructure (physical, digital, social, natural, etc).

In following the wellbeing economy approach, and contributing to the NPF National Outcomes, it is important to ensure local wellbeing outcomes take a broad view across key dimensions of wellbeing, as illustrated by the full range of National Outcomes and UN SDGs, including both short and long term outcomes.

This stage is intended to look above and beyond traditional economic metrics like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), productivity and employment statistics, to start by benchmarking the outcomes that a wellbeing economy seeks to achieve. The following stages look more deeply at how such economic drivers are impacting those outcomes.


Box A: Local Wellbeing Economy Monitor

The Local Wellbeing Economy Monitor draws together data for a set of indicators of wellbeing for each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. These indicators can be used as a benchmark for local authorities to see how their area compares with other local authority areas in Scotland, as well as the Scottish average, with respect to wellbeing outcomes.

This enables users to generate an initial, high-level picture of wellbeing across a range of factors, helping to see at a glance where there may be strengths that should be maintained, and where there may be challenges and opportunities to improve wellbeing outcomes.

The indicators are largely drawn from the wider set of national level indicators used in the National Performance Framework, with some modifications due to the availability of data at the more granular local authority level. They have been selected to give a broad-brush sense of progress towards the National Outcomes, and as such are best seen as one important source of evidence. The NPF ‘Measuring Progress’ page gives further information and guidance on developing a fuller understanding of progress, including through the Equality Evidence Finder to explore differences and gaps between groups.


Clackmannanshire Stage 1 Case Study

Clackmannanshire was benchmarked across a range of wellbeing indicators alongside neighbouring local authority areas (Stirling and Falkirk) and the Scottish average to build a picture of the local area’s wellbeing economy story.

Measuring the wellbeing indicators over a period of three years, a Red-Amber-Green (RAG) system was used to highlight Clackmannanshire’s relative position on each indicator compared to the Scottish average.

Using the evidence contained in this dashboard, seven key outcomes were identified to guide the next stages of the process. These headline outcomes, along with the key challenges underpinning them, are illustrated in Figure 2. These outcomes were mapped against the NPF, Clackmannanshire’s Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, Be the Future Corporate Plan, Child Poverty Action Plan and Community Wealth Building Action Plan to see how they aligned with Clackmannanshire’s local plans and priorities. A contribution wheel diagram showing how the Clackmannanshire local wellbeing outcomes map onto the NPF National Outcomes and UN SDGs is shown in Annex B.

Figure 2. Clackmannanshire key wellbeing outcomes and challenges

Wellbeing Economy Story

  • Economic Opportunities

  • Labour Market Outcomes & Fair Work

  • Sustainable Place

  • Outcomes for Young People

  • Health and Wellbeing

  • Poverty

  • Environmental Sustainability


Stage 1 Actions

1. Create a dashboard to provide an initial high-level picture of wellbeing outcomes in your local area using the Local Wellbeing Economy Monitor and other available data sources of relevance.

A list of data and evidence resources is available in ANNEX D, which includes suggestions for sourcing additional data to build on the simple overview provided by the Local Wellbeing Economy Monitor.


2. Benchmark your local authority area with the Scottish average. You may also want to compare these metrics against neighbouring local authorities or other local authorities with similar characteristics to your own.

3. Identify relative strengths and weaknesses and where there are challenges and opportunities to improve wellbeing outcomes within your area. This will provide an indication of the priority issues to be addressed through the rest of the diagnostic process. When selecting key wellbeing outcomes, a balanced, holistic approach should be taken to improving the wellbeing of both people and planet, for current and future generations.

4. Consider how these wellbeing outcomes align to local, regional and national priorities by comparing with relevant strategies, policies and projects as well as the NPF and Scottish Government targets.

5. In order to ensure the public and other key stakeholders can participate in the process effectively, assess your capacity and capability to undertake engagement throughout the process. Both internal and external stakeholders should be consulted to supplement this information with additional evidence, taking into consideration both quantitative and qualitative data.

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