Hannah Paylor and Joanna McGilvray, Carnegie UK
Year: 2024

As we near the end of the current parliamentary term, the proposed Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill presents an opportunity for the Scottish Government to pass world-leading legislation that goes further than the work of other Wellbeing Economy Governments. 

A Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill would enable the Scottish Government to embed a long-term approach, by providing a clear vision and guidance for public bodies and others to put wellbeing at the centre of decision-making. 

It also presents the Scottish Government with an opportunity to deliver progress on the issues of today, like deepening poverty and the energy crisis. It will give public bodies and other organisations a clear structure, guidance, and accountability mechanism to work coherently and collaboratively towards the National Outcomes.

 Key points: 

  • We agree with the Scottish Government’s suggested approach of using the Brundtland definition of Sustainable Development 
  • At Carnegie UK, we believe that ‘having regard to’ the National Outcomes does not go far enough. To strengthen accountability a duty to deliver the National Outcomes should be a core component of the Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill.  
  • This duty to deliver must include the Scottish Government otherwise it will be of limited impact. It should also apply to every organisation accountable to them and include any private companies procured by Scottish Government, its agencies and local government. 
  • We believe that a fully independent actor providing accountability, scrutiny and support for decision making is a vital feature of this legislation and will be critical for its effective delivery. The strongest and clearest way to achieve this is through the introduction of a new Commissioner. 
  • We recommend that revision of the National Outcomes should be done in the final year of a sitting Parliament to support the development of priorities for the next session. 

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