Left behind neighbourhoods

Left behind neighbourhoods

Local Trust and OCSI developed a quantitative measure for identifying left behind areas using open data. This involved creating a Community Needs Index for the first time.

The resulting report ‘Left behind? Understanding communities on the edge’ suggests that deprived areas without places to meet, an engaged community and poor connectivity, fare worse than other deprived areas.

Community Needs Index

The Community Needs Index provides a unique perspective on local need by focusing on the social and cultural factors that can contribute to poorer life outcomes in communities. 

This Index is an essential tool for policymakers to target investment in social infrastructure effectively.

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 

If you want to access the Community Needs Index, you can do so through our platform, Local Insight.

A screenshot of a choropleth map to provide an example of the Community Needs Index at LSOA level
Image shows area boundaries for Left behind neighbourhoods in North West England.

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 necessary community and civic assets, infrastructure and investment to address these challenges.

We used the Community Needs Index and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019 to rank neighbourhoods, focusing on those that ranked in the bottom ten percent in both indices. This approach enabled us to identify 225 left-behind wards in England

Our research reveals that left behind neighbourhoods are concentrated in post-industrial areas in northern England, coastal areas in southern England, and housing estates surrounding big towns and cities, such as Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Hull, and Stoke.

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

A screenshot of a choropleth map showing the Community Needs Index score at local authority level for Essex and surrounding areas
Logo for the APPG on left behind neighbourhoods

APPG on left-behind neighbourhoods

Our research has played a pivotal role in establishing the 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 economic deprivation, poor connectivity, low levels of community engagement and a lack of community spaces and places.

Research and analysis for the APPG

Decorative image with the text "left behind neighbourhoods"

left behind neighbourhoods

Final report of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for left behind neighbourhoods

The APPG for left behind neighbourhoods has published their final report on…

Decorative image with the text "left behind neighbourhoods"

Data analysis

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

Local Trust and OCSI developed a quantitative measure of left behind neighbourhoods…

Decorative image with the text "left behind neighbourhoods"

Data analysis

List of left behind neighbourhoods

  OCSI and Local Trust have developed a quantitative measure of left…

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left behind neighbourhoods

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