Research for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for ‘left-behind’ neighbourhoods

Local Trust and OCSI developed a quantitative measure of left-behind neighbourhoods using open data, including developing a Community Needs Index for the first time.

The resulting report ‘Left behind? Understanding communities on the edge suggests that deprived areas, when combined with the absence of places to meet, the lack of an engaged community and poor connectivity, fare worse than other deprived areas.

The research contributed to the creation of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for ‘left-behind’ neighbourhoods. The APPG is a cross-party group of MPs and Members of the House of Lords. Dame Diana Johnson DBE MP and Paul Howell MP co-chair the group.

It is committed to improving social and economic outcomes for residents in communities that suffer from a combination of economic deprivation, poor connectivity, low levels of community engagement and a lack of community spaces and places.

We have provided research and analysis to the APPG covering various themes and how they impact upon residents living in ‘left-behind’ neighbourhoods. Below is a summary of the research to date.

The early impact of COVID-19

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This research (published in July 2020) uses the latest socio-economic data to identify the challenges faced by ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The analysis covers:

  • Inequalities in health impacts and clinical vulnerability
  • Damaging economic impacts
  • The presence of vulnerable groups and their greater exposure to risk
  • The community response in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods

Economic data dive

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The economic data dive looks at socio-economic data related to the economic characteristics of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods. 

The research covers:

  • Employment: The labour market across ‘left-behind’ neighbourhoods, looking at those who are in employment and the breakdowns of full-time, parttime and self-employment
  • Worklessness: Those who are out of employment and the primary reasons for people being out of work
  • Jobs and businesses: The density and type of jobs available locally, the types of employment people are engaged in, the businesses operating locally and the extent of employment space in the area
  • Education, skills and qualifications: The level of education, skills and qualifications acquired by residents in ‘left-behind’ neighbourhoods
  • Travel to work patterns: The distance and methods in which people in ‘left-behinds neighbourhoods travel to work

Connecting communities

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The report into connectivity was researched alongside the Campaign for Better Transport and Local Trust.

This research looks at the connectivity domain of the Community Needs Index in more detail. This research includes the latest data on:

  • access to services
  • access to private transport
  • methods of travel relied upon
  • the digital infrastructure of the local areas. 

We constructed a new combined connectivity measure, which assigns each ‘left behind’ ward a combined score that measures overall ‘connectivity need’, and a ‘relative rank’, ranking each ‘left behind’ ward relative to all wards in England. The higher the ‘connectivity need score’, the greater the transport issues faced by local communities. And the higher the ‘connectivity need rank’, the worse connected a ‘left behind’ neighbourhood is related to other areas.

Community data dive

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The community data dive looks at socio-economic data related to the strength of community in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods (LBNs) in comparison to other deprived areas and England.

The research covers:

  • Civic assets: The civic and community assets (such as public halls, schools and leisure centres) and the density of these spaces across neighbourhoods
  • The third sector: The charitable organisations working in an area as well as their funding streams and the COVID-19 response in neighbourhoods
  • Community participation: Voter turnout in local elections, predicted strength of local social relationships, participation in sport and leisure activities and the extent of volunteering, charitable giving, local action and community networks.

Living environment data dive

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This analysis looks at socio-economic data related to the living environment in ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods.

This research covers:

  • Environmental characteristics: population density, land use (areas of brownfield land, industrial land, waste and landfill sites, residential households), vacant households and age of properties.
  • Environmental risk factors: households at risk of flooding, road traffic accidents, access to health hazards (e.g. fast food, gambling outlets, off licences).
  • Air quality: concentrations of key pollutants.
  • Crime and disorder: levels of recorded crime, anti-social behaviour, criminal  damage, fly-tipping.
  • Poor quality and unsuitable housing: overcrowded housing, housing in poor condition, household heating, home energy efficiency and fuel poverty.
  • Access to green space: proximity to green space, access to private green space.

Health inequalities

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The report into health inequalities was researched alongside The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA). 

Our research fed into part two of the report and covers:

  • Life expectancy
  • Mortality rates (before and during COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Self-reported health
  • Prevalence of specific health conditions
  • Limiting and long-term illness and disability
  • Mental health
  • Risk factors
  • Emergency hospital admissions
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