Understanding life in Ireland

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Understanding Life in Ireland - Well-being Framework Analysis


Understanding Life in Ireland: The Well-being Framework 2023

IreIand’s Well-being Framework provides policy-makers and Government with a more holistic way of thinking about how Ireland is doing as a country. It focuses on quality of life, with a particular emphasis on equality and sustainability. It reviews performance across economic, environmental and social issues simultaneously, rather than in isolation.

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An Saol in Éirinn a Thuiscint Creat Folláine 2023

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A Well-being Perspective

Ireland’s Well-being Framework is a cross-government initiative to help improve our understanding of quality of life and to measure how we are progressing overall as a country. This can help us better align policy decisions with people’s experiences.

The importance of taking a new and broader approach to understanding people’s lives has never been clearer, particularly reflecting on our experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Well-being Framework has the advantage of bringing economic, societal and environmental impacts together under one Framework. It also places a particular focus on equality and sustaining well-being into the future. It includes 11 dimensions of well-being, which capture the areas that matter most to the people of Ireland for a good quality of life, areas such as housing, skills, work, health and community.

In July 2021 the government's First Report on a Well-being Framework for Ireland was published. It captured the first phase of this work and set out the guiding vision and ambitions alongside an initial Well-being Framework and supporting Dashboard of Indicators informed by significant consultation with stakeholders carried out by the National Economic and Social Council.

The second phase of the work, captured in a Second Report - A Well-being Framework for Ireland, published in June 2022, included a Public Conversation and specific research which sought feedback on and tested the initial framework. This led to a refinement of the Framework, in particular placing a stronger focus on sustainability. The Report also sets out a pathway for embedding a well-being approach into the policy-making system over time, including into the Budget process.

Initial plans to take this approach forward include:

  • annual published analysis of the well-being dashboard and a focus on well-being in the National Economic Dialogue;
  • continued embedding into expenditure and evaluation policy;
  • promotion of relevant research and policy developments; and
  • clear supporting structures

In 2022, the Well-being Framework featured in the Budgetary process. It was a theme at the National Economic Dialogue in June, and an updated version of the analysis also featured in the Summer Economic Statement and in Budget Day documentation through a new publication entitled ‘Budget 2023: Beyond GDP – Quality of Life Assessment’. It is intended that this will be an annual contribution to the Budget process, which will support a broader discussion of the impacts of Budgetary decisions. For more information on this process click here.

Reflections on Ireland’s Well-being Framework – Stakeholder Seminar hosted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

On 27 November 2023, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hosted a summit at Government Buildings on Ireland’s Well-being Framework.

This event was an opportunity to reflect on the work done to date on developing this new approach to measuring Ireland’s progress, how we compare to other countries and how the Framework could be improved.

The summit heard from a diverse group of people about what the Framework tells us about life in Ireland today and how it can be used in Government decision making. Attendees included social partners, civil society, environmental groups, public sector organisations and academia.

A full report of this summit is available here.


Well-being Seminar Report

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