Thursday, August 9, 2012

Measuring well-being

A guide for practitioners
A short handbook for voluntary organisations and community groups.
Written by

Executive Summary

This short handbook on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.
By measuring the well-being of the people we aim to support, information can be gathered which can be used, for example, to improve the design and delivery of projects and services, to target projects and services at the people who are in most need, to tailor provision to suit needs, and to support funding applications.
 This handbook provides:
  • Tools for thinking about well-being and its measurement. These will help to ensure that when you measure people’s well-being, you do so from an informed position. Part I of this handbook is Understanding Well-being.
  • Part II describes our recommended practical tools for measuring well-being: this will help you to get measuring!
An earlier version of this handbook was originally created as part of a project commissioned by NHS Lambeth and funded through its Well-being and Happiness Programme, for projects and service providers in the London Borough of Lambeth. We have re-written the handbook so that it reflects updates in our thinking about well-being and its measurement, and we gratefully acknowledge the role that NHS Lambeth played in the creation of the original version.
nef consulting have added Part III, which provides guidance on analysis and interpretation, building on their experience of working with dozens of organisations to undertake impact evaluation projects. This document is available alongside a range of other resources which can help measure social impact through the SROI Centre for Excellence, which can be accessed at
Based on our experience of working with Big Lottery Fund, nef is confident that using a standardised approach to measuring well-being is a good use of time for organisations in a range of settings – Big Lottery Fund have provided a Case Study on the following page.