What can Public Service Boards do to improve well-being from a community perspective?

Public Services Boards (PSBs) are required by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to produce local well-being plans every five years, on the basis of an assessment of well-being needs in their local areas, setting out well-being objectives and proposed steps to meet them.

Following from our previous work in 2021 providing briefings to PSBs to assist them with their well-being assessments, in 2022 the Wales Centre for Public Policy was asked by the Welsh Government to lead a series of workshops for PSBs on ‘what works’ in particular areas of well-being, with the aim of this evidence feeding into the creation of their well-being plans.

WCPP were asked to deliver workshops in two areas: poverty and improving well-being from a community perspective.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased concerns about loneliness and social isolation, as well as mental health and social well-being more generally. It highlighted the importance of communities in supporting well-being and provided many good practice examples of communities mobilising to help the most vulnerable. The workshop on community well-being presented evidence from several WCPP projects during the pandemic on community action and what public and voluntary sector services can do to enable and support it. Evidence suggests that community action did not emerge in a vacuum during the pandemic, and that public and voluntary services – working in partnership with community organisations – were instrumental in determining how effectively communities were able to mobilise in response to the pandemic.

The workshop pack provides a recap of the workshop, synthesising learning from several WCPP research projects on enabling communities and enhancing wellbeing to present evidence on ‘what works’ and provide actionable recommendations for PSBs. It also provides an overview of the discussion among participants on what this evidence means for them.