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Children’s wellbeing and the Scottish budget


We worked in partnership with Dr Katherine Trebeck (Wellbeing Economy Alliance), the Carnegie Trust UK and early years funder Cattanach to raise awareness of what a robust child wellbeing approach to the Scottish budget would involve.

The project involved desktop research complemented by strategic interviews, with the aims of:

  • Exploring the layers of root causes that undermine children’s wellbeing
  • Setting out the importance of a government budget that provides for investment rather than tackling symptoms of, for example, deprivation
  • Examining the expected benefits of a wellbeing budget and how to design the budget accordingly
  • Making recommendations about the the key changes required to government systems, budget-making processes, and the culture around them, to deliver on this ambition.

Key areas of attention encompassed international best practice and ways to harness the National Performance Framework (NPF) to link government expenditure to interventions and preventative spend that improve children’s wellbeing.

The research project took a root cause perspective and examined why a life-stages approach to outcome-based budgeting underpins the attainment of a wellbeing economy.

In light of NPF evidence that the wellbeing of children in Scotland is not improving fast enough, and in the context of aspirations for post-Covid renewal, the project aimed to support a potentially transformational ambition for a Scottish children’s wellbeing budget.

Final report and associated work

Dr Katherine Trebeck's final project report, Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children's Wellbeing, was published in March 2021.

Click here to read the report

A comment piece by project partner Jen Wallace (Head of Policy, Carnegie UK Trust) was published in the Herald newspaper on the day the report launched.

Click here to read Jen Wallace's article in the Herald

The project’s aims inform many of the themes and calls in our 2021-26 Manifesto.

Click here to read the Manifesto

Although the report has been published, advocacy work on its findings and calls continue. For more information please contact our Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, David Mackay,

Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing

Dr Katherine Trebeck's final report was published on 18 March 2021

Download the report

Making budgets with wellbeing in mind

Jen Wallace discusses the topic on pages 31-32 of our Manifesto-themed magazine

Read the magazine

2021-26 Manifesto: PDF version

Download a PDF booklet of the Manifesto to read our themes and calls

Download PDF