Measuring National Wellbeing: What Matters to You? What Matters to Whom?



The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Measuring National Well-Being: ‘What Matters to You?’ debate ran between November 2010 and April 2011. The five-month debate took place across various platforms: an online questionnaire and forum, social media, postal submissions, a telephone line and 175 live events. The latter varied from workshops and focus groups with ‘people from all walks of life’, including some groups thought ‘hard-to-reach’,1 to large-scale public events with hundreds in attendance (Evans 2011: 5). In creating the debate, the ONS presented a space in which to listen to, discuss, collect and collate descriptions of what was important to individuals and communities in order to understand ‘what matters’ for the nation2 (Cameron 2010, Matheson 2011, Self et al. 2012). More than 30,000 responses describe what mattered to participants about wellbeing, which the ONS has indicated formed the basis of the UK’s national wellbeing domains and measures (Self et al. 2013: 2).


Free Text Fields Wellbeing Measurement National Debate Mixed Methods Politics of Expertise Evidence-based Policy-making 
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