SURF has long argued that the fundamental purpose of any regeneration effort – whether physical, social or economic – should be to improve the wellbeing of those living in disadvantaged communities.

The growing recognition by local, devolved and national governments that wellbeing should be measured as a complement to traditional measures such as GDP is therefore welcome.

In a recently completed project led by the Carnegie UK Trust in partnership with think-tank IPPR, evidence from six case studies of experiences of measuring wellbeing in France, the USA and Canada was investigated and considered.

The report, entitled Shifting the Dial: From Wellbeing Measures to Policy Practice, concludes that wellbeing measures are at their most effective when they are supported by a combination of strong leadership, technocractic policy processes and building momentum through wide buy-in from civil society, citizens and the media.

Where these elements come together, the project partners identified benefits for individual and community wellbeing by addressing policy gaps, finding innovative ways of working, and providing a valuable tool for holding governments to account.