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See also: The Social Services and Wellbeing Act | The Environment Act

Legislation

There are three Acts of particular importance that affect voluntary organisations in Wales – the Future Generations Act, the Social Services and Wellbeing Act and the Environment Act. Find out how they affect your voluntary organisation.

The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act

What is it?

The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is legislation requiring public bodies – such as local authorities, health boards and organisations like the Arts and Sports Councils of Wales – to put long-term sustainability at the forefront of their thinking.

To do this, they must work with each other along with other relevant organisations (like the ones that make up the voluntary sector) and the public to prevent and tackle problems. 

The Act was decided upon following an extensive consultation period known as the National Conversation. It passed into law in April 2015.

In order to create a more sustainable Wales, public bodies must now work towards seven Well-being Goals, and enact the five Ways of Working.

Wheel displaying the seven wellbeing goals from the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act

Well-being Goals

  • A prosperous Wales
  • A resilient Wales
  • A healthier Wales
  • A more equal Wales
  • A Wales of cohesive communities
  • A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh Language
  • A globally responsible Wales

Ways of Working

Long-term

The importance of balancing short-term needs with the needs to safeguard the ability to also meet long-term needs.

Integration

Considering how the public body’s well-being objectives may impact upon each of the well-being goals, on their objectives, or on the objectives of other public bodies.

Involvement

The importance of involving people with an interest in achieving the well-being goals, and ensuring that those people reflect the diversity of the area which the body serves.

Collaboration

Acting in collaboration with any other person (or different parts of the body itself) that could help the body to meet its well-being objectives.

Prevention

How acting to prevent problems occurring or getting worse may help public bodies meet their objectives.

The Welsh Government has also published a set of 46 National Indicators to help measure progress towards achieving these Goals. 

The Indicators have been chosen so that we can all see if, for Wales as a whole, things are getting better.  

The Act enables Ministers to review and amend the national indicators so that they stay up to date and relevant. 

At the start of each financial year Ministers must publish an annual progress report setting out the progress made over the last year.

Who does it affect?

Public Bodies

The Act places a requirement on 44 devolved public bodies to set and publish well-being objectives that are designed to maximise their contribution to achieving each of the well-being goals, and they must take all reasonable steps to meet those objectives. 

Public bodies must publish a statement when setting their well-being objectives, explaining why they feel the objective will help them achieve the seven goals and how it has applied the sustainable development principle. 

They must also publish an annual report showing the progress they have made in meeting their objectives.

Public bodies in Wales

  • Welsh Ministers
  • Local Authorities
  • Local Health Boards
  • Public Health Wales NHS Trust
  • Velindre NHS Trust
  • National Park Authorities
  • Fire and Rescue Authorities
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • The Arts Council of Wales
  • Sports Council of Wales
  • The National Library of Wales
  • The National Museum of Wales

Public Service Boards

The Act also forms Public Service Boards.  

The purpose of a Public Services Board (or PSB) is to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in its local area by strengthening joint working across all public services in Wales. 

PSBs must include the Local Authorities, Natural Resources Wales, Health Boards and Fire Services – and additional ‘invited participants’ including; Welsh Ministers, Chief Constables, and at least one body representing relevant voluntary organisations. 

PSBs have a duty to design and implement Local Well-being Plans, informed by detailed assessments, and set objectives for their local area to maximise their contribution to the well-being goals.

Public Service Boards

Future Generations Commissioner

The Act also creates a Future Generations Commissioner, who acts as a guardian for the interests of future generations in Wales, to support the public bodies to work towards achieving the well-being goals and monitor progress in achieving objectives. 

Sophie Howe is Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner and took up the post in February 2016.

Do the Well-Being Goals apply to us?

Although only public bodies are bound by the Act, its Well-Being Goals will not be achieved without the support of other sectors and individual actions too. 

Where can I find out more?

For further information around the Act, visit these links