HMT Green Book Appraisal Guidance

About HMT Green Book Appraisal Guidance

Even though your department has specific objectives, your overarching aim in central or local government is to improve people’s lives.

Good advice for decision-making should consider all the important impacts on people’s lives. There is a large research literature that has identified the statistical predictors of human wellbeing, which we can use to develop and deliver better policies.

What do you do differently when you include wellbeing?

Considering the wellbeing evidence changes decisions at three levels:

  1. Strategic level

Define the objective: a focus on improving people’s lives, improving wellbeing

  1. Policy or project level

Design in wellbeing when developing options

  • Design options which improve wellbeing, based on the evidence
  • Use the wellbeing evidence to better achieve outcomes, since wellbeing in turn improves productivity, health and pro-social behaviours
  1. Appraising options

Understand and compare the wellbeing impacts in appraisal. Support the estimates in social cost benefit analysis by:

  • Consider the full potential impacts
  • Quantify wellbeing impacts and monetising where possible
  • Reflect the impacts on different groups

In some cases, wellbeing will fully capture all the outcomes affected by a proposal. For example, improving social relations or improving wellbeing in a classroom.

In this case, we can consistently compare options using wellbeing as the unit of benefit, rather than translating via monetary benefits. This means that subjective wellbeing can be used as the outcome variable for Social Cost Effectiveness Analysis.


Jan 27, 2021 | By Jennifer Wallace, Ben Thurman and Hannah Ormston - Carnegie UK Trust
Putting wellbeing into policy: where to begin?
Guest Blog
Dec 9, 2020 | By Nancy Hey
Wellbeing at the heart of the 2020 Spending Review?
Centre Blog
Dec 9, 2020 | By Nancy Hey,Deborah Hardoon
The Green Book review – what do the changes to government appraisal mean?
Centre Blog
Dec 3, 2020 | By Ben Thurman
Putting kindness at the heart of community planning
Guest Blog

External resource

  • World Happiness Report – happiness and voting behaviour
  • ONS governance and trust wellbeing data
In partnership with