Oxfam HumanKind Index


Client: Oxfam Scotland

Project: Oxfam HumanKind Index

Oxfam Scotland commissioned Northern Star to project manage a consortium of organisations involved in delivering a national community consultation to shape the development of the Oxfam Humankind Index for Scotland; and to develop and deliver some of the consultation itself. The consortium included the University of Edinburgh, the Craighead Institute, and New Economics Foundation and was overseen by a steering group comprising MSPs from all major political parties, trade unions, academia plus experts in the fields of economics, social research and wellbeing.

The goal of the Index is to assess Scotland’s prosperity by a more holistic and representative measure of progress, beyond economic growth and increased consumption.


Northern Star used a combination of innovative consultation methods to ensure a diverse selection of people across Scotland could contribute their views to the consultation. In partnership with New Economic Foundation, we developed an interactive streetstall activity which we delivered in town centres, shopping malls and at festivals, in sun, wind and drizzle. We also developed a series of participative group consultation activities which enabled people to reflect on the issues that were important to them, and to contribute a rich variety of qualitative information about what it takes to live well in their communities.

As part of the consultation, we recruited and facilitated a large scale event in Glasgow for 83 people and a series of smaller community workshops across Scotland, from Kilmarnock to Barra and from Dundee to the Borders. We worked in partnership with local organisations to recruit participants and ensure the events were fully accessible. The events were carefully designed to ensure maximum participation and many participants commented on how much they had enjoyed the event and felt that they were really listened to.


Oxfam Scotland were able to use this research to ask Government to focus on what really matters, and to make more informed decisions about where Scotland wants to go. Along with WWF and Friends of the Earth Scotland, they called on civil society organisations to work with them to set out a vision for the Purpose of Scotland, taking into account more than just economic growth. They were joined by 31 other organisations and contributed to the review of the National Performance Framework. The Humankind Index continues to be a live barometer for measuring the wellbeing of the nation, and the basis for measured policy and campaigning work on this issue by Oxfam.