November 2017. Miranti R, Tanton R, Vidyattama Y, Schirmer J, Rowe P.
Governments increasingly want to know whether the programs and services they fund improve the way that people feel and function in their lives, that is, their wellbeing. This focus on wellbeing has increased around the world over the past decade, but it remains a young and contested field, with different views about how best to define and measure it. The NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) developed the NSW Human Services Outcomes Framework, which has seven domains of wellbeing and identifies key stages in an individual’s life cycle. FACS wants to use robust and evidence-based indicators to measure progress in the seven domains of the Framework. However, the evidence for many widely used indicators has not been assessed. There is a body of research about the characteristics of good indicators, but there is no ‘gold-standard’. Faced with this challenge, the review authors developed an innovative method to select appropriate evidence-based indicators for the Framework. This review rates the useability of indicators of wellbeing against three criteria: frequency of use by existing reputable frameworks; consistency or reliability of the link to wellbeing in the published academic literature; and availability of data to measure the indicator. The authors identified and rated 96 indicators of wellbeing that have been used consistently in the wellbeing literature.