How quality of life informs local decision making
Jul 20, 2020
This study is based on a review of the literature on quality of life (QoL) to identify measures that may be utilised by local decision makers in Cambridge, UK. The study found that QoL is a complex concept that is often underpinned by numerous dimensions which capture the essence of QoL within a particular context. While many measures of QoL were identified, there was little evidence to suggest that they are being used by local decision makers.
A literature review
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This report is part of a wider ongoing project led by Cambridge Ahead to improve quality of life for all residents living in the Cambridge area. The main aim of this exercise is to ensure that QoL is a key priority for local public policy in the coming years. This study is based on a review of the literature on quality of life using targeted searches in Google and Google Scholar. Academic research, policy papers and other grey literature were included in review, with over 90 documents ultimately being reviewed. The study found that quality of life is a complex, multidimensional concept that has not been shaped by one particular definition. As a concept and measure, quality of life is often underpinned by a framework of dimensions (e.g. personal well-being, health, education and learning) which capture the essence of what quality of life is within a particular demographic, social, economic, cultural, political and/or geographical context.
While many measures of quality of life were identified in the review, there was little evidence to suggest that they are being operationalised by local authorities. However, examples of measuring quality of life influencing local decision making were identified. In these examples, QoL measures influenced local decision making by: (1) establishing a baseline for QoL in the locality; (2) using this baseline to prioritise the allocation of pots of funding to maximise QoL; and (3) engaging communities in the creation of the measure, and encouraging public use of the findings.
Conceptualising quality of life
Mapping existing measures of quality of life
The operationalisation of local quality of life measures in policy and decision making
Conclusions and areas for further examination
Frequency count for all dimensions identified in the review
Data on quality of life collected for Cambridge
The research described in this report was commissioned by Cambridge Ahead and conducted by RAND Europe.
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