December 6, 2023

New Scottish wellbeing legislation will hardwire long-term thinking 

by Carnegie UK

A consultation on new laws designed to protect the interests of future generations was today launched by the Scottish Government.

Public policy experts at Dunfermline-based Carnegie UK have welcomed the move, but warned Ministers that legislation alone won’t address many of Scotland’s biggest challenges.

Proposals for a Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill include the option of creating a new Future Generations Commissioner, modelling a similar office in Wales. Ministers in Edinburgh are also pledging to strengthen the National Performance Framework in a change which could lead to better cooperation and coordination in the public sector.    

Sarah Davidson, chief executive of Carnegie UK, said: “These new laws can hardwire long-term thinking into government at all levels in Scotland. The Scottish Government deserves credit for this forward-thinking move and we would urge everyone with a stake in developing a healthy, fair, thriving and green Scotland to respond to this consultation.

“Reforms to the national performance framework should lead to better co-ordination between public bodies north of the border, leading to less waste and better outcomes. And a new Future Generations Commissioner for Scotland could be a powerful advocate for the people that will come after us as well a counterweight to short-termism in our politics.

“New legislation alone is unlikely to deliver the successful Scotland we all want to see. However, if these laws are accompanied by leadership and drive, then we can begin to systematically address our biggest challenges like tackling both climate change and ingrained inequality.” 

Carnegie UK has published research papers urging Ministers to reform the National Performance Framework and facilitated a visit from Wales’ former Future Generations’ Commissioner, Sophie Howe, to Scotland. 


Notes to editors 

Contact: Stuart Mackinnon