Digital and Data Blog

Chief Statistician’s update: Measuring the Well-being of Wales and 2021 Census update

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

Measuring the Well-being of Wales

On September 25th I published the first ever annual Well-being of Wales report. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 required us to report annually on our progress towards the national well-being goals, with reference to the national indicators.

It gave an insight into the state of the nation’s well-being and recent trends. Key messages can be found in this Slideshare and the full report.

Our aim was to produce a report that told a story

We’ve had previous sets of indicators in Wales and often they’ve not had the impact on policy development that we’d have liked. I wanted this to be different since the evidence contained in the national indicators, the Well-being of Wales report, alongside the Future Trends report, are critical for public bodies and Welsh Government to develop policies and plans that improve the well-being of future generations.

To achieve this we provided a narrative on our progress against each of the seven well-being goals. But in producing these narratives we took care to ensure that we were considering the goals in their widest sense – the Act is about looking at issues in a joined-up, integrated manner. So we discussed how industry mix might impact on our progress towards a low-Carbon economy, the relationship between health and work, and what were the key things that mattered in terms of community cohesion. I‘m keen to develop this approach further in the future.

When we consulted on the national indicators, stakeholders wanted us to ensure we took a rounded view of issues when it came to reporting on progress. In our narrative we did not restrict ourselves to the national indicators but reported on other relevant data, such as avoidable mortality, adverse childhood experiences or the global education programmes in Wales.

We wanted to make use of new ways of publishing statistics

We were also committed to publishing all of the data for the national indicators. To achieve this we wanted to maximise the re-use of the data we publish elsewhere and the strides we have made in open data. For most of the indicators the data are published in detail on StatsWales.
We then used the Power BI software package to present the indicators. This gives us a platform on which to base further developments. For example I hope we can provide a greater ability to view the indicators by different equality characteristics or geographical area in the future. As the Power BI reports are drawn directly from our StatsWales open data service, there is a lot less work required in making those improvements in the future. It also means we can keep the national indicator pages updated throughout the year.

We put Wales in the global context

We also used our new Power BI capability to provide an interactive tool allowing the user to filter the national indicators according to the Well-being goals that they most relate to – but also the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, making us the first UK country to link our national indicators to the UN SDGs. On the 2nd anniversary of the UN SDGs this ensured we were putting our work in the global context.

We want your feedback

The design and content of the site was all produced by our own statisticians in Welsh Government at no additional cost. We know that we can improve in future, and we are still learning the tricks of the Power BI software.  We want to ensure we are improving through listening to user feedback. We’ve therefore launched a survey today seeking your feedback on the content, usability and structure of the report. We’d also like to know how you might use the report in your day to day work.

Please take the time to fill in the survey and helps us improve in the future.

The 2021 Census is getting closer

Preparations for the next England & Wales Census in 2021 are well underway. A successful Census Test was held earlier this year (in Wales it took place in the North of Powys) with the key objective of testing on-line processes as the next Census is due to be predominantly online. A whole range of other activity is also taking place including finalising plans for questions. Last month the ONS Census Director Ian Cope published an update  on how these plans are going and confirmed that there will be a new question on armed forces in the next Census.

We are working very closely with ONS on preparations for the next Census and always welcome feedback from users in Wales on anything related to the Census.

Glyn Jones
Chief Statistician

04 December 2017