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ONS want to hear your views on 'well-being'

(47 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 28-Feb-11 15:50:40

Hello All

The Office for National Statistics is currently debating how to measure the nation's well-being. They want to measure 'how society is doing' by looking at more than just the dry stats like GDP.

But before they can start measuring, they want to know what is most important in your life and in the lives of your family.

Is it what you earn or is it the time you spend with your family? Does the value of your house count, or is the state of the environment more important?

If you'd like to let them know what's important to you, please do post below or join the debate here.

Crumblemum Mon 28-Feb-11 16:39:46

Well as long as we have enough money, money isn't important!

Past that it's about having time off with our family as a whole, whether that's homemade picnic in park, or, hopefully one day, holiday abroad.

I'd like more enforced holidays - bank holidays etc

whomovedmychocolate Mon 28-Feb-11 20:59:00

What's most important to me:

(1) Safety of my family
(2) Wellbeing/happiness of my family
(3) Financial security
(4) Chances for education
(5) Work opportunities
(6) Community
(7) Global issues
(8) Environment

I don't give a stuff about bank holidays, royal weddings, newspapers or taxation.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 28-Feb-11 21:03:01

Oh and FWIW - we're doing pretty good, I'm quite happy. Yes the country is in the crapper financially but it's cyclical, it'll get better in time. It could be a heck of a lot worse and it's one of the best countries in the world to grow up as a child IMHO.

House prices don't actually matter much IMO, everyone finds a standard of living they are comfortable with and moves within that bracket, if you buy at 500K then your house rises to 750K most people will just buy another house at 750K - so it's a zero sum game. But I'm aware that it's harder when you start out though.

Eleison Mon 28-Feb-11 21:35:30

How odd, to seek a chat-sourced definition of well-being, rather than using the numberless scholarly attempts to define or operationalise it.

Publicity stunt, much?

Eleison Mon 28-Feb-11 21:36:16

And why on earth is this in campaigns?

BelaLugosiinStripes Mon 28-Feb-11 22:05:43

I value what % of my everyday life isn't spent getting immensely cross and frustrated with politicians. The Today and PM programmes are pretty bad for ones' blood pressure.
My wellbeing would be vastly improved if they stopped coming up with ridiculous ideas such as these and concentrated on getting on with running the country.
E.g. not making promises they can't keep and not changing the NHS when 'no top-down' reorganisation was in their manifesto.

doricpatter Mon 28-Feb-11 22:26:01

I want to know what big DC is going to do about it if he measures our well-being and finds it lacking. Can I expect a personal visit for some back-patting, advice on the mortgage and a bit of local litter-picking while he's in the neighbourhood?

stressheaderic Mon 28-Feb-11 22:26:36

I value health and education and people having decent morals and values and a strong work ethic.
These things contribute to my well-being.

I honestly couldn't give a monkeys about politics, what politicians say, house prices, private schools, diets or anything to do with celebrities.

Eleison Mon 28-Feb-11 22:31:13

I don't think of this as anything other than another stunt like the 'what laws would you like to get rid of' website that came out just after the election. If they were seriously interested in measuring well being, they would go about it in just the same way as they go about other elements of the census -- ie on the basis of very well researched definitions and techniques, not pseudo-consultation.

Did ONS ask MN to promote this? Is there a danger that the Campaigns section is becoming a sort of Media and Non-Member Requests section for anything vaguely political that HQ would like to get a bit of profile on? We are just doing there job for them -- giving a consultative feel to their polcies without them having to go to the trouble of genuine consultation.

hellymelly Mon 28-Feb-11 22:45:39

my list would be the same as WMMC's.

BelaLugosiinStripes Mon 28-Feb-11 23:06:20

Eleison - its the big society, why pay for a consultation when you can ask the internet for free. And you can tell people its their fault because that's what asked for.
All very cynical I think.

tethersend Mon 28-Feb-11 23:30:00

I find I'm happiest when I'm not being repeatedly shat on from a great height by governmental policies borne of spite and greed.

Or when I've got new shoes. Or something about children.


woollyideas Tue 01-Mar-11 08:37:28

I'm happiest when I have more than £35 a week to cover food, clothing, school meals and other incidentals (cleaning materials/personal care/household repairs etc.) for two of us (one parent and one teenager).

Only people with money say it isn't important. Lack of money affects health, mental wellbeing and quality of life.

At the moment I feel like I'm working my guts out for no material reward, which is pretty soul destroying.

Seeing massive corporations getting away with paying minimum tax while the country is suffering feels totally wrong and I do take it personally. ^(Like tethersend but without the new shoes.)

Thanks for the pay freeze, Dave, and the VAT increase and the ever-increasing food prices and the cut backs on vital services, especially those which hit women most...

ArfurBrain Tue 01-Mar-11 08:40:19

''I find I'm happiest when I'm not being repeatedly shat on from a great height by governmental policies borne of spite and greed.''

Tethersend, has started to post along these lines...but you have put it very succinctly.

Only you missed out rainbows on kittens and all you need is love and shit.

Tee2072 Tue 01-Mar-11 08:42:35

Yeah, pretty much what tethersend said.

Artichokes Tue 01-Mar-11 08:47:01

Things that would make me happier:
- confidence that I could send my children to the local primary and secondary schools and be sure that they would get a GREAT (not just good) education and not be disadvantaged compared to those whose parents paid, or were religious etc.
- confidence that when anybody in my family is ill the NHS will provide quick access to high quality healthcare in an environment conducive to healing (clean, friendly, person focused).
- confidence that my daily life will not be made more difficult to balance because of endless Tube works, road works, over zealous traffic wardens waiting to jump on my car, rubbish men reducing their collections in the height of summer etc.
- a culture where my husband and I can fairly balance our careers and family life without being disadvantaged and judged because we can't practise presentism and be the last to leave the office or because we occassionally take a day off to care for sick kids
- a community that holds events that encourage socialising at the local level and give the children a real feeling of belonging with and knowing the people they live around. This includes strong local libraries with activities, a well run local park, events for the whole family run by the local school.

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 01-Mar-11 08:50:20

Eleison - this is no doubt the first stage of a bigger research exercise. They will be using MN (and possibly other fast-moving sites, with a specific demographic) to establish the key themes in a qualitative fashion, and then I would imagine they will go on an quantify them.

It's probably costing them much, much less than doing it the 'conventional' way, through group discussions with carefully selected representatives of different demographic groups.

But, hey, what do I know?

nottirednow Tue 01-Mar-11 08:56:18

Message withdrawn

senua Tue 01-Mar-11 09:02:00

Happiness is freedom and self-determination.
Freedom of choice because you have the power of money. Physical freedom of movement because you are hale and hearty. Political freedom because we live in a democracy and have freedom of association and speech. Freedom from penury because you know that, if the worst comes to the worst, then the State will take care of you. Freedom from fear because the Police/Army keep us safe (well, most of the time). Freedom from discrimination that shuts doors because of race/gender/creed/etc.
Um, basically, I think that I am re-hashing Maslow.blush

The trouble is that well-being isn't a static thing.
At eighteen, I might be desperate for a job and be grateful for any apprenticeship. Thirty years later, I would be disappointed to be in that same job and would have hoped to progress somewhat.
At eighteen, I didn't even think about my health. At forty, you worry about your waistline. At eighty, you long for a day's release from pain.
How do you measure these different attitudes over time? I suppose you have to compare yourself to other eighteen/forty/eighty year olds, not to how you used to be.

It is human nature to be discontent: it's the desire to keep up with (or beat) the Jones's that gets us out of bed in the morning (eustress). It would probably do us good, every now and then, to think about what we have and be reminded to be grateful for it. We need a new Bank Holiday: Gratefulness Day.grin (actually, that's another old idea re-hashed: HarvestHome/Thanksgiving blush)

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Mar-11 09:02:45

Hi Eleison

Good point re campaigns, couldn't really work out where to put it, didn't seem a natural fit to most categories, but will move it to product test/ feedback to avoid any confusion.

We were asked by ONS to host this debate, particularly because they wanted to hear mums views, and this is one way of doing so. Obviously those who don't want to contribute, don't have to.

BecauseI'mWorthIt - think you're right, this is part of the much bigger consultation - details here

Eleison Tue 01-Mar-11 09:11:20

BIWI, I had a read around it last night on the ONS website. Apparently a 'national conversation' on the issue of defining well being was initiated by them in November, involving their discussion site linked to in KatieMN's op and some events around the country -- apparently including schools, voluntary groups, professional bodies,etc. There are events at trade exhibitions. I'm guessing that these events will pull in very few people and achieve very little and I'm also guessing that the uptake on their discussion site is pretty tiny. The 'national discussion' now has only six weeks left to run. I can't imagine that they will have had anything like the uptake to come up with conclusions about how 'the nation' defines well being, and that is in any case an odd ambition, since you'd think an objectively adequate definition would be better than a 'conversation'-sourced one, as with other factors assessed by ONS.

I'm guessing that their callout to MN is something they hope will give the exercise a bit more credibility -- imagine the report: "Outreach to women and families was achieved because we consulted actively with the 1000 000 users of Mumsnet'

What pisses me off even more is that they get to do this in the Campaigns bit of the site that I thought was for user-sourced campaigns, not for assisting govt. Doesn't the text at the top of campaigns threads make this thread seem inappropriate?

Eleison Tue 01-Mar-11 09:12:45

Eek crosspost Katie. Thank you so much for moving it. That really means a lot to me. Products/feedback sounds a great place for what is not much different from a govt marketing exercise. Many thanks indeed.

KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Mar-11 09:28:06

No worries Eleison. Thanks for the thanks. We try... : )

LindsayWagner Tue 01-Mar-11 09:32:24

I think this is quite a good idea. ONS is canvassing views as widely as they can - ie they're not thinking ooh let's ask MN, that'll get us a juicy PR maggot for our hook.

There's nothing to be gained by not exploring avenues newly opened by tech, simply because they're cheaper than the old paths to knowledge. In general I would have thought it a good thing to get a broader base than would be feasible through more formal consultation processes, regardless of funding.

Read about this somewhere else (can't find) and afair they are also pursuing trad methods; the post-consultation analysis sounded rigorous, will combine objective measures (eg. crime, employment, wealth, health) with subjective ones (fear of crime, work stress etc)to give a more nuanced picture.

Since happiness/well-being is something that academe has notoriously failed to define or quantify, this seems like as good a plan as any. Though obviously I balk at the seepage of the Big Society brand into every bloody thing.

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