Wellbeing-adjusted life years (WELBYs) in policy and practice
Lord Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service
General Research Seminars
Tuesday, 08 November 2022, 2pm to 3pm
Hosted by HERC
Date and Time: Tuesday 08 November 2022, 2:00 pm (UK GMT)
To Join: This is a free event, which will be taking place both in-person and online via Zoom/Microsoft Teams. To register your interest in attending this talk please click HERE
Abstract: The wellbeing-adjusted life year (WELBY) is a single metric that shows the impacts of policies and interventions on life expectancy and individual wellbeing. In contrast to the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) that is currently widely-used in health economic evaluation, the WELBY is based on subjective wellbeing for each individual. In this talk, Lord O’Donnell will discuss the rationale for using subjective wellbeing to guide policy, the methodologies used for calculating WELBYs and how their use would change the priorities of policy-makers compared to GDP or QALY targeting. He will also use his experience of guiding policy inside and outside Government to discuss the barriers to implementing policies that target wellbeing, and the opportunities for research to change that.
Bio: Gus O'Donnell was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the British Civil Service from 2005-2011 and in 2010, he oversaw the introduction of the first coalition government since the Second World War. He oversaw the introduction by the Office of National Statistics of the UK’s national wellbeing data. After retiring as Cabinet Secretary he has worked intensively on wellbeing issues, helping to establish the What Works Centre on Wellbeing and writing on how to use wellbeing as a guide to policy. This includes ch.6 of the World Happiness Report, 2013, chairing the report on Wellbeing and Policy produced by Sir Angus Deaton, Lord Layard, Martine Durand and David Halpern (commissioned by the Legatum Institute). Most recently, as Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing, he has overseen a report on what a Spending Review based on Wellbeing would look like.