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.
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:
If you want to access the Community Needs Index, you can do so through our platform, Local Insight.
To identify neighbourhoods that could be defined as left behind we focused on the areas that suffered the dual disadvantage of:
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.
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:
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.
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