Jennifer Wallace, Board Member
I am Head of Policy at the Carnegie UK Trust where I manage the Wellbeing and Towns team. I am a recognised expert on wellbeing in public policy, with a recently published book on Devolution and Wellbeing (Palgrave MacMillan). I currently advise the Scottish Government on societal wellbeing and sits on the Cabinet Secretary’s Roundtable on Measuring Scotland’s Progress. I also advise What Works Wellbeing and the OECD on wellbeing metrics. I was a key player in the development of the recently revived Northern Ireland outcomes approach for public services, formalised in the new devolution deal
I both live and work in a town so have a very personal interest in what makes towns flourish. I care passionately about evidence-based policy but find that towns are often ‘hidden’ in the evidence, literally lost between rural and urban interests. I am also a strong believer in cross-sectoral collaboration and believe that towns operate at a human level where people can come together to build solutions. Better data on the wellbeing of towns is a key interest of mine.
More people live in towns than the current policy and media narrative suggests (our estimate is over a third of people in Scotland). It is harmful to social cohesion and trust to both crowd their interests out of public policy and to portray these places solely as negative places (and by extension, people). As we move into a different phase of economic, social and environmental policy (catalysed by climate change) we must seek new policy and practice solutions to supporting towns to set their own path for future development.