Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] (HL Bill 8)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision for requiring public bodies to act in pursuit of the United
Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing by
meeting wellbeing objectives, publishing future generations impact
assessments, accounting for preventative spending, and through public
services contracts; to establish a Commissioner for Future Generations for the
United Kingdom; to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Future
Generations; to require companies to consider the impact of their activities on
the United Kingdom’s wellbeing; and for connected purposes.

B e it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1 Introduction

1 Overview

(1) This section is an overview of the main provisions of the Act.

(2) 5Part 2 of this Act—

(a) explains what is meant by “sustainable development” and requires
public bodies to carry out sustainable development;

(b) explains what is meant by “the future generations principle”;

(c) requires public bodies to set wellbeing objectives that are to contribute
10to the achievement of wellbeing goals and to take steps to meet those
objectives;

(d) establishes a public consultation and a Citizens’ Assembly;

(e) explains what the wellbeing goals are and the things public bodies
must take account of in fulfilling the wellbeing duty;

(f) 15requires indicators that measure progress towards achieving the
wellbeing goals, and reports on future trends and risks to wellbeing of
the United Kingdom, to be published by the Secretary of State;

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 2

(g) requires the bodies to report annually on their progress towards
meeting their wellbeing objectives;

(h) requires the Comptroller and Auditor General to carry out
examinations into the extent to which public bodies set objectives and
5take steps to meet them in accordance with the future generations
principle;

(i) requires the bodies to publish future generations impact assessments
when publishing a proposed policy change;

(j) requires the bodies to report on and seek to increase their preventative
10expenditure.

(3) Part 3 of this Act—

(a) establishes the office of Future Generations Commissioner for the
United Kingdom;

(b) provides for the Commissioner to promote the needs of future
15generations by monitoring and reporting on the extent to which public
bodies are setting and seeking to meet their wellbeing objectives in
accordance with the future generations principle;

(c) provides for the Commissioner to carry out reviews of public bodies;

(d) establishes panels of advisers to the Commissioner.

(4) 20Part 4 of this Act—

(a) establishes the Joint Committee on Future Generations including its
membership and the procedure for appointment;

(b) establishes the functions of the Joint Committee on Future Generations;

(c) sets out the reporting requirements of the Joint Committee on Future
25Generations.

(5) Part 5 of this Act requires that every specified company’s directors’ report
includes an explanation as to whether the activities of the company advance,
detract from or are neutral with respect to the wellbeing goals.

(6) Part 6 of this Act—

(a) 30 extends the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 to cover all services,
goods and works contracts;

(b) amends the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 to include cultural
wellbeing and to require authorities to take into account the wellbeing
goals.

(7) 35Part 7 of this Act sets out the final provisions of the Act including provision on
regulations and on commencement, extent and short title.

Part 2 Improving Wellbeing

Sustainable development and wellbeing duty on public bodies

2 40Sustainable development

In this Act, “sustainable development” means the process of improving the
economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the United
Kingdom by taking action, in accordance with the future generations principle,
aimed at achieving the wellbeing goals set under section 6.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 3

3 Future generations principle

In this Act, any reference to a public body doing something “in accordance
with the future generations principle” is a reference to the body acting in a
manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without
5compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

4 Meaning of “public body”

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a “public body” means—

(a) any body or person that carries out functions of public administration,
or

(b) 10any body or person that is under the control of a body or person that
has public responsibilities, exercises functions of a public nature, or
provides public services, but only in respect of the exercise of functions
that do not fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Government,
the Welsh Ministers or the Northern Ireland Executive.

(2) 15A public body does not include either House of Parliament, or a person
exercising functions in connection with proceedings in Parliament.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsection (1) by—

(a) adding a person,

(b) removing a person, or

(c) 20amending the description of a person.

(4) Before making regulations that amend subsection (1), the Secretary of State
must consult—

(a) the Commissioner;

(b) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(5) 25In relation to a particular act, or any failure to act, a person is not a public body
by virtue only of subsection (1) if the nature of the act is private.

5 Wellbeing duty on public bodies: objectives

(1) Each public body must carry out sustainable development.

(2) The action a public body takes in carrying out sustainable development must
30include—

(a) setting and publishing objectives (“wellbeing objectives”) that are
designed to maximise its contribution to achieving each of the
wellbeing goals, and

(b) meeting, in the exercise of its functions, its wellbeing objectives.

(3) 35Proceedings and judicial remedies concerning a public body’s failure to fulfil
its duties are set out in sections 27 and 28.

(4) In fulfilling its duties under subsection (2), public bodies must have regard to
any relevant future generations impact assessments under section 17.

(5) A public body that exercises functions in relation to the United Kingdom may
40set objectives relating to the United Kingdom.

(6) A public body that exercises functions in relation only to a part of the United
Kingdom may set objectives relating to that part or any part of it.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 4

6 Consultation and provision for the wellbeing goals

(1) The Secretary of State must provide for a public consultation to determine a
series of wellbeing goals, including persons the Secretary of State deems to be
appropriate.

(2) 5 The public consultation must conclude with a Citizens’ Assembly that must
make recommendations on the final wellbeing goals.

(3) The public consultation and Citizens’ Assembly must be concluded within
nine months of this Act coming into force.

(4) The Secretary of State must appoint a “public consultation coordinating body”
10to organise the public consultation under subsection (1) and Citizens’
Assembly under subsection (2).

(5) The members of the public consultation coordinating body are to be such
persons as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Scottish Government,
Welsh Ministers and Northern Ireland Executive, may appoint.

(6) 15 The Citizens’ Assembly is to deliberate on and recommend the wellbeing goals
that have been identified through the public consultation undertaken in
accordance with subsection (1), with reasons for its recommendations.

(7) The public consultation coordinating body must produce a report setting out
the wellbeing goals recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly and its reasons,
20within one month of the Citizens’ Assembly’s conclusion.

(8) The Secretary of State must lay before both Houses of Parliament the report on
the wellbeing goals recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly, within two
months of the Citizens’ Assembly’s conclusion.

(9) The Secretary of State must by regulations provide for setting the wellbeing
25goals recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly.

(10) Schedule 1 makes further provision about the Citizens’ Assembly.

(11) The Secretary of State must review the wellbeing goals every five years
through a public consultation.

(12) The Future Generations Commissioner must review the results of each
30consultation carried out under subsection (11) and make recommendations to
the Secretary of State on any proposed changes to the wellbeing goals.

7 Wellbeing duty on public bodies: ways of working

(1) In fulfilling its wellbeing duty under section 5(2), a public body must take
account of the following things—

(a) 35the importance of balancing short-term needs with the need to
safeguard the ability to meet long-term needs, especially where things
done to meet short term needs may have detrimental long-term effect;

(b) how deploying resources to prevent problems occurring or getting
worse may contribute to meeting the body’s wellbeing objectives, or
40another body’s objectives;

(c) the importance of deploying resources to undertake long-term
planning;

(d) the need to forecast and manage emerging risks that may undermine
the body’s wellbeing objectives, or another body’s objectives;

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 5

(e) the need to take an integrated approach, by considering how—

(i) the body’s wellbeing objectives may impact upon each of the
wellbeing goals;

(ii) the body’s wellbeing objectives impact upon each other or upon
5other public bodies’ objectives, and in particular where steps
taken by the body may contribute to meeting one objective but
may be detrimental to meeting another;

(f) the importance of involving other persons or bodies with an interest in
achieving the wellbeing goals and of ensuring those persons reflect the
10diversity of the population of—

(i) the United Kingdom (where the body exercises functions in
relation to the whole of the United Kingdom), or

(ii) the part of the United Kingdom in relation to which the body
exercises functions;

(g) 15 how acting in collaboration with any other public body (or how
different parts of the body acting together) could assist the body to
meet its wellbeing objectives, or assist another body to meet its
objectives.

Wellbeing objectives

8 20Statements about wellbeing objectives

(1) When publishing its wellbeing objectives (including wellbeing objectives
revised under sections 9 or 10) a public body must also publish a statement—

(a) explaining why the body considers that meeting the objectives will
contribute to the achievement of the wellbeing goals;

(b) 25 explaining why the public body considers it has set wellbeing
objectives in accordance with the future generations principle,
including how the body proposes to involve other persons with an
interest in achieving the wellbeing goals and ensure that those persons
reflect the diversity of the population of—

(i) 30the United Kingdom (where the body exercises functions in
relation to the whole of the United Kingdom), or

(ii) the part of the United Kingdom in relation to which the body
exercises functions;

(c) setting out the steps the public body proposes to take to meet those
35objectives in accordance with the principle (including how it proposes
to govern itself, how it will keep the steps under review and how it
proposes to ensure that resources are allocated annually for the
purpose of taking such steps);

(d) specifying the periods of time within which the body expects to meet
40the objectives;

(e) providing such other information as the body considers appropriate
about meeting the objectives.

9 Wellbeing objectives: government departments

(1) Each government department must set and publish its wellbeing objectives—

(a) 45no later than six months after the earlier of—

(i) the date on which the first United Kingdom general election is
held following the commencement of this section, or

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 6

(ii) the first date on which a new Prime Minister is appointed by the
Crown following the commencement of this section, and

(b) no later than six months after the date of each subsequent—

(i) United Kingdom general election, or

(ii) 5 appointment of a Prime Minister.

(2) Each government department must set its wellbeing objectives for the period—

(a) beginning with the day specified for that purpose in the statement
published under subsection (1), and

(b) ending with the day of the next United Kingdom general election
10scheduled under section 1 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

(3) If the wellbeing goals are amended, each government department must review
its wellbeing objectives.

(4) If, on a review under subsection (3), a government department determines that
one or more of its wellbeing objectives are no longer appropriate, it must revise
15the objective or objectives concerned.

(5) A government department may, at any other time, review and revise its
wellbeing objectives.

(6) Wellbeing objectives revised under subsection (4) or (5) must be set for the
remainder of the period referred to in subsection (2).

(7) 20 Where a government department revises its wellbeing objectives under
subsection (4) or (5), it must, as soon as reasonably practicable, publish the
wellbeing objectives as revised.

(8) In setting or revising its wellbeing objectives, a government department must
take into account the Commissioner’s report under section 29.

10 25Other public bodies’ wellbeing objectives

(1) In this section references to a public body do not include government
departments.

(2) A public body must set and publish its wellbeing objectives—

(a) no later than the beginning of the financial year following the
30commencement of this section, and

(b) at such subsequent times as the body considers appropriate.

(3) If the wellbeing goals are amended, a public body must review its wellbeing
objectives.

(4) If, on a review under subsection (3), a public body determines that one or more
35of its wellbeing objectives are no longer appropriate, it must revise the
objective or objectives concerned.

(5) A public body may at any other time review and revise its wellbeing objectives.

(6) Where a public body revises its wellbeing objectives under subsection (3) or (4),
it must publish them as soon as is reasonably practicable.

(7) 40 In setting or revising its wellbeing objectives, a public body must take into
account the Commissioner’s report under section 29.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 7

Measuring progress towards achieving the goals

11 Annual wellbeing goals report

(1) The Secretary of State must—

(a) publish indicators (“national indicators”) that must be applied for the
5purpose of measuring progress towards the achievement of the
wellbeing goals, and

(b) lay a copy of the national indicators before both Houses of Parliament.

(2) A national indicator—

(a) must be expressed as a value or characteristic that can be measured
10quantitatively or qualitatively against a particular outcome;

(b) may be measured over such a period of time as the Secretary of State
considers appropriate;

(c) may be measurable in relation to the United Kingdom or any part of the
United Kingdom.

(3) 15The Secretary of State must set milestones in relation to the national indicators
which he or she considers would assist in measuring whether progress is being
made towards the achievement of the wellbeing goals.

(4) In setting a milestone, the Secretary of State must specify—

(a) the criteria for determining whether the milestone has been achieved
20(by reference to the value or characteristic by which the indicator is
measured), and

(b) the time by which the milestone is to be achieved.

(5) If the wellbeing goals are amended, the Secretary of State must review the
national indicators and milestones.

(6) 25If, on a review under subsection (5), the Secretary of State determines that one
or more of the national indicators or milestones are no longer appropriate, he
or she must revise it or them.

(7) The Secretary of State may at any other time review and revise the national
indicators and milestones.

(8) 30 Where the Secretary of State revises the national indicators and milestones
under subsection (6) or (7), he or she must as soon as reasonably practicable
publish the indicators and milestones as revised and lay a copy of them before
both Houses of Parliament.

(9) Before publishing national indicators and milestones (including indicators and
35milestones revised under subsection (6) or (7)), the Secretary of State must
consult—

(a) the Commissioner;

(b) the other public bodies;

(c) such other persons as he or she considers appropriate.

(10) 40The Secretary of State must, in respect of each financial year beginning after the
date on which national indicators are published under subsection (1), publish
a report (an “annual wellbeing report”) on the progress made towards the
achievement of the wellbeing goals by reference to the national indicators and
milestones.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 8

(11) An annual wellbeing report under subsection (10) must specify the periods of
time to which the measurement of each indicator relates.

12 Future trends and risks report

(1) The Secretary of State must, during the period of 12 months beginning with the
5date of a United Kingdom general election or the appointment of a new Prime
Minister by the Crown, publish a report (a “future trends and risks report”)
that contains predictions and plans to manage likely long-term future trends
and future risks concerning—

(a) the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the
10United Kingdom, including emerging and global threats, and

(b) any related information that the Secretary of State considers
appropriate.

(2) The report must include—

(a) an assessment of risks, including environmental risks, global risks and
15risks that may emerge or grow in the future, for at least the forthcoming
25 years,

(b) details of the assessment process used to identify future risks, and

(c) each department’s plans to prevent, manage and prepare for the
potential consequences of the identified future risks.

(3) 20A future trends and risks report must be subsequently produced and
published every five years in accordance with subsection (1) until the next
general election or appointment of a Prime Minister.

(4) In preparing a future trends and risks report the Secretary of State must—

(a) take account of any action taken by the United Nations in relation to the
25 UN Sustainable Development Goals and assess the potential impact of
that action on the economic, social, environmental and cultural
wellbeing of the United Kingdom, and

(b) take account of the advice and reports of—

(i) the United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change, and

(ii) 30 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, and

(iii) the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity
and Ecosystem Services, and

(c) take account of the views of—

(i) 35 primary and secondary school children, and

(ii) students in further and higher education,

in the United Kingdom as expressed in engagement exercises every
two years regarding their views on economic, social, cultural and
environmental wellbeing, conducted in cooperation with relevant
40 youth and student bodies including the United Kingdom Youth
Parliament, the National Union of Students, and any other persons or
bodies the Secretary of State deems appropriate.

(5) In subsection (4)(a), “ UN Sustainable Development Goals” means the 17 UN
Sustainable Development Goals referred to in UN resolution A/RES/70/1
45which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 25
September 2015.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] Page 9

(6) For the purposes of subsection (4)(c), the Secretary of State may by regulations
provide for an engagement exercise every two years involving primary and
secondary school children and students in further and higher education.

(7) The Secretary of State may omit from any report published in accordance with
5subsection (1) any material whose publication would be against the interests of
national security.

13 Annual wellbeing objectives report

(1) Ministers of the Crown must collectively—

(a) publish, in respect of each financial year, a report of the progress they
10have made towards meeting government departments’ wellbeing
objectives, and

(b) lay a copy of the report before both Houses of Parliament.

(2) In preparing a report under this section, the Ministers of the Crown must
review government departments’ wellbeing objectives with—

(a) 15the Commissioner,

(b) the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales,

(c) any public body or body charged with protecting the needs of future
generations in Scotland,

(d) a public body or body charged with protecting the needs of future
20generations in Northern Ireland,

(e) any other commissioner, public body or body deemed to be
appropriate by Ministers of the Crown.

(3) If, on a review under subsection (2), the Ministers of the Crown determine that
one or more of their wellbeing objectives are no longer appropriate, they must
25revise the objective or objectives concerned and publish the revised objective
or objectives as soon as practicable.

(4) Where the Ministers of the Crown revise one or more objectives under
subsection (3) , the report under subsection (1) must include an explanation of
the revision and the reasons for making it.

(5) 30 A report under this section must be published and laid before both Houses of
Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable following the end of the financial
year to which the report relates.

14 Annual reports by other public bodies

(1) Each public body other than those headed by the Ministers of the Crown must
35publish annual reports of the progress it has made in meeting its wellbeing
objectives.

(2) In preparing a report under this section, a public body must review its
wellbeing objectives.

(3) If, on a review under subsection (2), a public body determines that one or more
40of its wellbeing objectives are no longer appropriate, it must revise the
objective or objectives concerned and publish the revised objective or
objectives as soon as practicable.