Commentary on Sections

Sections 18 and 19 – Commissioner’s general duty and functions

84.Section 18 establishes that the general duty of the Commissioner is to promote the sustainable development principle, in particular to act as a guardian of the ability of future generations to meet their needs and to encourage public bodies to take greater account of the long-term impact of their activities. For this purpose, the Commissioner must also monitor and assess the meeting of the well-being objectives set by public bodies.

85.Section 19(1) provides that in carrying out her or his general duty, the Commissioner may provide advice or assistance (excluding financial assistance) to a public body or any other person that she or he believes is taking, or is seeking to take, action that may contribute to the well-being goals. This includes providing advice on climate change.

86.The Commissioner may provide advice or assistance to the Auditor General for Wales in respect of the sustainable development principle and public services boards about the preparation of their local well-being plan.

87.The Commissioner may also encourage best practice and promote awareness amongst public bodies as regards meeting their well-being objectives in a manner that is consistent with the sustainable development principle; and encourage public bodies to work with each other and with other persons if this could assist them in meeting their well-being objectives.

88.Section 19(2) confers power on the Commissioner to undertake research or other study in relation to the sustainable development principle, the extent to which the well-being goals and national indicators are consistent with the sustainable development principle and anything related to these things that impacts upon the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales or any part of Wales.