Redefining progress: Global lessons for an Australian approach to wellbeing



Redefining progress header image - a sea bridge in the illawarra from the air

Redefining progress: Global lessons for an Australian approach to wellbeing

Redefining progress is a report from the Centre For Policy Development’s Wellbeing Government Initiative.

Looking at 21 global approaches to wellbeing over the past 50 years it identifies four key characteristics of advanced wellbeing approaches to guide an Australia’s wellbeing journey.

Download Redefining Progress

Redefining progress examines a half century of wellbeing government approaches, taking stock of more than 20 distinct global frameworks.

It identifies four key characteristics of leading approaches to wellbeing that can provide guidance to Australian policymakers.

Redefining Progress identifies four key characteristics of leading approaches

Measure what matters

It is only with the right kinds of measurements that we can assess the outcomes of budget allocations and policy selection. Measurement must be a means rather than an end. It must be timely, able to be disaggregated, have a measure of consistency while being responsive to change in accordance with best practice, and tolerate both ambiguity and gaps in data availability.

Guide decisions with data

The purpose of wellbeing frameworks is to optimise wellbeing, not the practice of measuring wellbeing. It is on this point – the translation of measurement and principles to policy – that we see wellbeing approaches stumble. Practical decision-making guidance takes wellbeing beyond abstract rhetorical statements into day-to-day policy design, decision-making and implementation.

Embed wellbeing across institutions

Governments are changing how they do business to achieve their wellbeing goals. Governments have many tools at their disposal here: from creating central coordinating teams to working with citizens and communities to set priorities.

Build accountability for progress

Transparent assessment and reporting guards against corner-cutting and lip-service, and can be implemented with appropriate measures to enable frank advice from public servants and robust debate among elected officials. The strongest measures combine reporting with additional mechanisms such as independent oversight and structural changes in the way departments work together.

Praise for Redefining Progress

Redefining Progress in the media

Wellbeing should be embedded throughout government decision-making, and there should be independent oversight to ensure it remains on course, a new report examining approaches from 21 jurisdictions has found.
The public service must buy into the idea of measuring "wellness" as part of the policy-making process, or else the concept risks becoming a mere box-ticking exercise able to be exploited by senior officials, a new report has found.
A new report by Dr Cressida Gaukroger and a team of experts at the Centre for Policy Development examines this model of progress and finds the most successful approaches go beyond just "counting more things"

About the authors