A better Scotland? There's an app for that.

Posted by David Eyre UK Poverty Press Officer

8th Oct 2013

A brand new web application is being launched today to help people decide whether new policy ideas actually make for a better Scotland.

The app is based on Oxfam Scotland's Humankind Index for Scotland - an alternative measure of the country's wellbeing, based on people's real priorities. 

It takes people through a step-by-step process designed to test whether new policies actually meet people's needs.

Oxfam hopes it will be used by people who come up with policy ideas, like voluntary organisations, civil servants and politicians.

But the charity also hopes it will be used by members of the public, so that people can make their own judgments about the ideas that policymakers present to them.


Try the Humankind Index Policy Assesment tool at http://policytool.humankindindex.org.


Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "The Oxfam Humankind Index for Scotland goes beyond simplistic economic measures like GDP. 

quot;It reminds us that Scotland's economy should serve its people - not the other way around. 

quot;This new policy tool helps us look at new policy ideas from the perspective of their impact on people's real prosperity. For too long, we have pursued policies that don't take the real needs of people into account and the result has been persistent poverty and growing inequality.

quot;We've worked hard on getting the app ready. Now we're really excited to see how people use it in practice and look forward to it making a positive contribution to the lives of the people of Scotland."

The Humankind Index Policy Tool measures new policies against the top 18 priorities, selected by the people of Scotland during a consultation involving nearly 3,000 people. 

It was produced in partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust and developed by the new economics foundation (nef). It has been designed to be easily used on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, phones and other mobile devices. 

The work to create the app was supported by the Carnegie UK Trust, as part of a wider programme looking at different ways to move the focus of policymakers away from just growing GDP, towards considering the nation's wellbeing as a whole.

Jennifer Wallace, Policy Manager at Carnegie UK Trust, said: "Governments around the world are looking at different ways to think about social progress and how they can improve the lives of citizens.

quot;This new tool gives policy makers, and those who want to critique government proposals, a new way of thinking about whether proposals are likely to contribute to social progress. Using the app can help by pointing out gaps and showing where policies could be developed further to help improve wellbeing."

The app is being launched this evening (Tuesday 8 October) at a special event in Edinburgh, with a panel of experts, including politicians and Stephen Boyd, assistant general secretary of the STUC.

Blog post written by David Eyre

UK Poverty Press Officer

More by David Eyre