Quality of Life

The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ, 16:00 for a 16:30 start, 10 May 2011

On behalf of the Government, the Office of National Statistics is devising a new method of measuring quality of life in Britain in an attempt to improve national wellbeing and happiness. This measure will attempt to challenge the use of traditional measures of economic growth, such as the Gross Domestic Product, as proxy measurements for wellbeing.

For six months from November 2010 to April 2011 the ONS has run a consultation with British people, organisations and businesses to establish what constitutes quality of life, and therefore what elements should be included.

And from April 2011, the Office of National Statistics will be including subjective well-being monitoring questions on the Integrated Household Survey (IHS) to capture what people think and feel about their own well being. Around 200,000 people will be asked to rate their 'life satisfaction' on a scale of nought to ten in the UK's biggest household survey as part of the Office for National Statistics' programme to measure the nation's well-being.

Since 1999, Professor Ann Bowling and colleagues, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, have been formulating a new measure of quality of life in older people, also invoking consultations with the public to gain an idea of the contributory factors to older people’s wellbeing.

This joint seminar from the International Longevity Centre – UK and the Actuarial Profession, with the support of ESRC, examined and discussed both Prof. Bowling and the ONS’ new measure of quality of life, the complexities of measuring happiness and how these measurements approach these issues, and how we can ensure that the wellbeing of older people is given due attention.

The questions that were consider during the debate included:

  • What are the best measures of wellbeing and happiness across the lifecourse?
  • How does wellbeing differ across the lifecourse and do we need to take age into account when developing measures of happiness?
  • What factors predict quality of life amongst older people?
  • How can quality of life amongst older people be improved?
  • How will the new ONS measures of national well-being, including quality of life, impact on public policy?

Agenda from the event:

16.00 – 16.30
Registration and refreshments

16:30 – 16.35
Welcome by Actuarial Profession co-chair and introduction from co-chair Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK.

16.35 – 16.55
Ann Bowling, Professor of health care for older adults St George’s University of London

16.55 – 17.15
Paul Allin, Director of Measuring National Well-being Programme, Office for National Statistics

17.15 – 17.25
Emily Grundy, Professor of Demographic Gerontology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

17.25– 17.35
Respondent: Paul Cann, Chief Executive, Age UK Oxfordshire; Campaign to End Loneliness; and ILC-UK Fellow.

Questions and panel discussion with speakers

Close and drinks

The powerpoint presentation from this event is available to view below.