Left behind neighbourhoods

Left behind neighbourhoods

Local Trust and OCSI developed a quantitative measure of left behind areas 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.

Community Needs Index

The Community Needs Index focuses on the social and cultural factors that can contribute to poorer life outcomes in communities. This 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 is available at ward level and covers 19 indicators across the domains of:

  • Civic assets: Presence or absence of key community, civic, educational and cultural assets in and in close proximity to the area
  • Connectedness: Connectivity to key services, digital infrastructure, isolation and strength of the local jobs market
  • Engaged communities: Civic, third sector and community participation of the local population and barriers to participation and engagement 

The Community Needs Index is available to users of Local Insight.

Identifying left-behind neighbourhoods

To identify neighbourhoods that could be defined as left behind we focused on the areas that suffered the dual disadvantage of:

  1. High levels of deprivation and socio-economic challenges
  2. Lacking in the community and civic assets, infrastructure and investment required to mitigate these challenges.

We identified the areas that were ranked in the worst ten percent in both the Community Needs Index and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019.  This showed there were 225 left-behind wards in England

The research shows concentrations of left behind neighbourhoods 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. 

Read full analysis

Community Needs Index analysis for your area

While this is a national measure, we also offer more detailed analysis for local areas. This gives a more granular insight into local community need that may be masked by a national measure.

Community Needs Index analysis includes:

  • A deep dive into the community needs for your areas: What are the drivers, which areas are most impacted and what is the relationship between community need and deprivation
  • Analysis of the underlying component indicators of the Community Needs Index: To determine whether there are particular indicators contributing to high community need
  • The relationship between the different dimensions of Community Need
  • Analysis of any left-behind neighbourhoods within your area: To understand the particular challenges they face.

Case study

APPG on left-behind neighbourhoods

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.

Research and analysis for the APPG

Data analysis

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

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