Wellworth

wellworthWellWorth is an innovative online tool which helps policy and decision makers evaluate wellbeing interventions.


The WellWorth Policy Toolkit has been developed by Happy City in partnership with health economists at  University of Exeter Health Faculty. The feasibility development of WellWorth has been funded by Innovate UK ‘Solving urban challenges with data’ competition stream from October 2015 – September 2016.

WellWorth is now in an extended piloting phase to further test its efficacy and function in real life. It is being tested in real time applications in both the public and voluntary sector.  If your organisation is interested in using WellWorth please contact us at measurement@happycity.org.uk   

An Overview 

What is WellWorth?

WellWorth is an innovative online tool which helps policy and decision makers evaluate wellbeing interventions.

WellWorth is useful for both one-off projects and measuring activity over a period of time.  To use WellWorth your organisation needs to be collecting wellbeing data from a recognised wellbeing data source.  

When analysed, this data will provide life satisfaction scores.  You can then feed this score, together with other information such as project duration and reach, into the WellWorth too which converts this data into mainstream policy benefits. The tool provides you with a choice of mainstream policy areas to select from, such as health, education, social relations, employment, environment and crime.

At its heart WellWorth is a management tool – helping to show which services or projects have most impact in what areas whilst also calculating the cost effectiveness of your projects.  WellWorth informs your decision making and guides strategy.

Why this and why now?

Increasingly the idea of overall wellbeing and its impact on life satisfaction and overall quality of life is gaining traction.  Various robust ways of gathering wellbeing data have been developed and there is now a significant body of academic and applied knowledge and work in the area of wellbeing.  However wellbeing or life satisfaction data on its own is of limited value, and many organisations would like to extract more meaningful information from that data and show how it impacts fundamental life outcomes such as mortality rate, level of educational achievement and the ability to work productively.  

To ensure the appropriate allocation of resources towards wellbeing, and to justify investment in wellbeing interventions it is helpful to have a more complete picture of the benefits of wellbeing and to value them in monetary terms. This enables a clearer comparison with the costs of wellbeing interventions. Robust valuation is central to cost-benefit analysis and to avoid undervaluing policies that promote non-market services such as volunteering which are not obviously reflected in GDP.

Who is it for?

WellWorth is aimed at policy and decision makers and commissioners in:

  • local authorities
  • front line organisations delivering services
  • public health services
  • national charities
  • funders.  

 

How does WellWorth work?

WellWorth is an evaluation tool built on a framework of algorithms.  These algorithms are based on assumptions derived from an extensive academic literature review of the methods that have been used to quantify linkages between wellbeing and different life outcomes, and to place a monetary value on those.  The review considered:

  • Empirical evidence showing the extent to which wellbeing can lead to better life outcomes
  • Valuation methods used to place monetary values on the benefits of wellbeing.

The literature review considered both direct benefits i.e. the intrinsic value of wellbeing and also the co-benefits in the following domains: Health, Social relations, Voluntary work, Employment, Education, Environment and Crime.

You can find an evidence review for each of the domain headings here.

WellWorth has been developed by Happy City in partnership with health economists at the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health. The full literature review can be found in draft form here.  The feasibility development of WellWorth has been funded by Innovate UK ‘Solving urban challenges with data’ competition stream from October 2015 – October 2016.

Reliability, rigour and currency

WellWorth draws on the existing empirical evidence about the relationships between wellbeing and other factors which have a value to society.  The range and type of empirical evidence across the different domains varies  – in a number of the domains the causal relationships (a connection between processes, where it can be proved that one event is a result of the occurrence of the other event) between wellbeing and the wider benefits to society have not yet been fully quantified. We make it clear where this is the case and if desired, users can request results only in those domains where a causal relationship has been established.

Our best available evidence comes mainly from experimental studies, in which the wellbeing of the individuals is exogenously influenced, or from longitudinal studies, where the same individual is followed over time and which also allow for the control of confounding factors – hence reducing their influence in the relationship.

The empirical evidence is hence based on a limited subset of studies in peer reviewed academic journals – which is the best available evidence at the present time. Measurement of the value of outcomes derive from a wider pool of studies on valuing benefits – far more has been done in terms of the economic valuation side than in terms of the links between wellbeing and other outcomes.

The results of WellWorth should be seen as being indicative, and care should be taken in applying them to the policy context. As the evidence base grows, it is hoped that WellWorth may be able to draw on more rigorous studies of the interlinkages – and give better insights to policy making.

Wellworth is only as good as the wellbeing data you have to put in it.  If you’d like more guidance on how to collect good quality wellbeing data please see our detailed Guides: A guide to collecting Quantitative Data and A guide to collecting Qualitative Data

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