Last week marked 5 years since the Well-being of the Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 became Welsh law. A world first, which has changed the way Wales plans for the future. What helps set Wales apart is the work of the independent Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe in supporting this change and keeping the focus on the long term. On 4th May 2020, as part of her statutory duties, the Future Generations Commissioner published the first Future Generations Report on what has been achieved so far.
Built into the cycle of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFG Act) are the publication of two 5-yearly reports, one from the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and other from the Auditor General for Wales (AGW). These are required by law to be published one day and one year before a general election (this means 5th May 2020), and together they give a periodic stock-take of the implementation of the Act.
These reports are both published against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of those public bodies subject to the Act are at the frontline of the challenges we face in dealing with Coronavirus. Both the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and the Auditor General have reflected this context and made it clear that they will not be expecting Government and public bodies to provide a response to these reports in the short term. I thank them for this position.
The Future Generations Commissioner highlights the importance of the leadership role of Welsh Government. The findings and recommendations will be considered in the coming months by Ministers and the Civil Service.
Covid-19 has dramatically changed our lives and will have a lasting and profound effect on all of us, on our economy, on our public services and on our communities. We cannot go back to business as normal, and need to plan for a Wales, shaped by the virus, that is more prosperous, more equal and greener, rooted in our commitment to social-economic and environmental justice. Last week, we joined the Well-being Economy Government (WEGo) Network and will be working with Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand – who all have a shared ambition to deliver and improve well-being through their economic approach.
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, with its seven well-being goals, provides a long term vision of Wales, agreed by the Senedd back in 2015, puts us on a strong footing to guide us in these unchartered water. Thinking about the long term, involving people, joining up policies and delivery of services, collaborating across all sectors, and focusing on prevention is crucial in working more effectively with people, communities and each other to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. In the First Minister’s statement on the Framework to Lead Wales out of the Coronavirus Pandemic the Future Generations Act is part of the principles by which we will examine proposed measures to ease the current restrictions, grounded in both scientific evidence and wider impact.
Future Generations Report 2020
Auditor General’s Report on the Sustainable Development Principle