Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill: consultation analysis

The Scottish Government sought views on a proposed Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill. The consultation closed on 14 February 2024 and this report is the analysis of your views.

2. Consultation methodology


The consultation ran for 10 weeks to 14 February 2023 on the Scottish Government Citizen Space website. Several remote events aimed at a variety of audiences supplemented the online consultation.

Public consultation

Total responses

The consultation received 168 responses by the closing date.

A further 12 responses were received after this and in prior agreement with Scottish Government. This brings the total number of consultation responses received to 180.

Following the data review and cleaning process, one response was subsequently removed, in agreement with Scottish Government, as the response did not relate to the consultation questions. This results in 179 consultation responses.

Following discussion with Scottish Government including the Digital Engagement Team and analytical colleagues, it was agreed that a joint response from various public and third sector organisations would be best treated as two responses in the interest of transparency and to draw on qualitative information provided that is relevant to one or other interest group.

This results in 180 validated consultation responses included in the analysis. Points to note from Table 2.1 include that:

  • almost two-thirds (65%) of all consultation responses are from organisations
  • the remainder of responses (35%) are from individuals
Table 2.1: Number of validated responses to the consultation
Respondent type Number Percentage
Organisations 117 65%
Individuals 63 35%


One organisation submitted a response beyond the date of the extension in order to allow its consultation response to go through internal committee processes. The Scottish Government will review and consider this submission separately.

Organisation responses breakdown

Organisation responses are categorised under four broad categories, and points to note from Table 2.2 include that:

  • almost half of all organisation respondents (47%) are from the public sector - for example, local authorities, education and skills bodies, regulators and commissioners, health agencies, and environmental organisations
  • the second largest category is the third sector (29%) comprising UK, national, and local charities and voluntary sector organisations - for example, across thematic areas such as advice and advocacy, art and culture, environment, health improvement, social enterprise support, sport and physical activity, and volunteering
  • almost one-fifth of organisation respondents (19%) are membership bodies - it should be noted that organisations are placed under one category, although it is recognised that there may be some crossover, for example, a third or public sector membership organisation
  • few private sector organisations (5%) responded to the consultation
Table 2.2: Number of validated responses to the consultation by organisation sub-group
Organisation sub-group Number Percentage
Public sector 54 47%
Third sector 34 29%
Membership body 22 19%
Private sector 6 5%


Campaign responses

No campaign responses were identified.

There are consultation responses from various organisations, primarily from third sector and membership organisations and individual respondents, that use the same or similar wording across several open-ended questions or express support for other third sector organisations’ responses. This includes consultation responses from:

  • The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC)
  • Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council
  • Scotland's International Development Alliance
  • Scotland CAN B
  • Carnegie UK
  • UK Environmental Law Association
  • Scottish Women's Budget Group
  • Inclusion Scotland; Equate Scotland
  • International Development Education Association of Scotland
  • Scottish Environment LINK
  • Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
  • Community Land Scotland
  • Scottish Community Alliance
  • Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency

This likely reflects membership bodies (and others) promoting the public consultation to their members and networks, hosting events to share their expert insight into the subject matter, and sharing thoughts on proposed responses to consultation questions.

Stakeholder events

The Scottish Government Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill Team also organised and facilitated 17 stakeholder events during January and February 2024, Appendix A.

The events were advertised in a variety of ways, including the Scottish Government and partners promoting and circulating information through existing channels and networks. The events were also used to signpost attendees to prepare and submit a consultation response through Citizen Space. Almost 30% of organisations who attended a stakeholder event also submitted a consultation response.

Almost 100 individuals from across 66 organisations attended the events. Most organisations are from the public sector (83%), and the remainder from the third sector (17%). Event notes were provided by Scottish Government to EKOS to be reviewed and to integrate the main themes into the analysis report. Summary points from the events are presented at the end of relevant sections of this report. The points raised at the events largely chime with themes that emerged from the public consultation.


All responses to the public consultation were moderated by Scottish Government officials in the Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill Team (Performance, Delivery and Resilience Directorate) to ensure that they are valid and appropriate. EKOS then exported consultation responses from Citizen Space into Microsoft Excel for data cleaning, review, and analysis. Where submissions were submitted in another format, Scottish Government officials inputted and moderated these prior to passing the information to EKOS.

The consultation document was structured to allow respondents to answer questions independently in recognition that respondents may want to respond to one or some of the questions without wishing to express views on the others.

The standard process is that equal weighting should be given to all responses. This includes the spectrum of views, from large organisations with a national or UK remit or membership, to individual viewpoints.

The analysis has sought to identify the most common themes and issues. It does not report on every single or specific point raised.

Summary tables for all closed questions are presented in the main report. This analysis includes consultation respondents that selected ‘don’t know’ or did not provide a response to closed questions (meaning blank responses or ‘unanswered’ questions). These represent sizable proportions of all consultation respondents in some cases, particularly among public sector, third sector, and membership organisations.

For open-ended questions, we have undertaken an approach to help readers get a sense of the strength and frequency of themes and issues raised by respondents. This means that:

  • most chapters in the report contain numbered themes (for example, Theme 1, Theme 2, Theme 3) - these have been set out in order of relative importance with Theme 1 noted by the greatest number of respondents
  • points raised have been quantified in some way to articulate the strength of opinion - for example, we use the terms ‘all’ (100% of respondents), ‘almost all’ (between 91% to 99% of respondents), ‘most’ (between 75% and 89% of respondents), ‘many’ (between 41% and 74% respondents), ‘some’ (between 11% and 40% respondents), and ‘few’ (10% or less of respondents)

This analysis report includes quotes from respondents who gave permission for their response to be made public. This does not indicate that these comments will be acted upon or given greater weight than others.

Consultation limitations

Respondents to any public consultation or engagement event are self-selecting, and the responses may not be representative of the population as a whole.

There is limited feedback from the private sector.


Email: wsdbill@gov.scot

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