Local Trust commissioned OCSI to develop a quantitative measure of left-behind areas using open data, including developing for the first time, a Community Needs Index.
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 Community Needs Index focuses on the social and cultural factors that can contribute to poorer life outcomes in communities, which gives a different perspective to more economically based measures of local need.
This is a useful measure in and of itself, to help policy makers target investment in social infrastructure.
The Index has been developed at ward level and covers 19 indicators across the domains of:
The Community Needs Index is available to users of Local Insight.
To identify areas that could be defined as left-behind we focused on the areas that suffered the dual disadvantage of
We explored the characteristics of areas that were ranked in the worst ten percent in both the Community Needs Index and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019.
The analysis identified 206 left-behind wards in England with a combined population of 2,193,000 people – almost 4% of people in England.
The research shows concentrations of left-behind areas in housing estates outlying big towns and cities, such as Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Hull and Stoke, as well as in post-industrial areas in northern England and coastal areas in southern England.
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 and is co-chaired by Dame Diana Johnson DBE MP and Paul Howell MP.
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.
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