Data Updates in Local Insight


Local Insight is updated every month with newly published data. Alongside this, the All Data Download is updated every quarter. To see a list of all the datasets in Local Insight check out this article on our Help Centre

In the below table you can find the archived links to all previous data updates in the first column and the archived links to all previous All Data Download updates in the second  column:

Monthly data updates Quarterly All Data Download updates
2022 – Jan
2021 – Dec 2021-July
2021-Nov 2021-April
2021-Oct 2021-Feb
2021-Sept 2020-Oct
2021-August 2020-Jun
2021-July 2020-Feb
2021-June 2019-Dec
2021-May 2019-Jul

Christmas Break

The Local Insight support team will be off during the Christmas break from Monday the 20th of December to Monday the 3rd of January inclusive.

We will not be able to respond to any Local Insight support requests during this time.

We will answer emails when the office reopens on Tuesday the 4th of January.


If you experience any issues or need support please visit  the Help Centre:

There are also tutorial videos available to help you solve your questions:

If you have another question which requires assistance from a member of the team please email  We will reply on Tuesday 4th of January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Local Insight Team 

It’s now easier to create custom areas based on postcodes in Local Insight

You can now create more bespoke areas in Local Insight using the enhanced custom areas based on the postcodes functionality.

The 3 main improvements are…

1) You can now create custom areas based on any postcode within England, not just postcodes in your service list.

2) You can see the boundary line around your custom area so that it is clear where data for that area derives from.

3) Your postcodes are validated on import so you can be sure they are accurate.

Create custom areas based on any postcode

Historically you could only create custom areas from postcodes that were already uploaded in your group’s service list. This limited the areas that you could create. 

Now you can create custom areas from any postcode within England, regardless of whether those postcodes are in your service list.

Need to see data for a very small community?

  • Create an area based on one or two local postcodes. 

Run a service accessed by thousands of people?

  • Create an area by uploading the postcodes of the people who use your service. This allows you to create a non-contiguous area made up of potentially thousands of postcodes.

See the boundary line around your custom area

Previously, custom areas based on postcodes displayed as postcode markers on the map. Now the areas display with clear boundary lines around the constituent regions covered. Data is still created for these areas in the same way, more on that below, but now you can see a more accurate depiction of the area you have created on the map. 

The image on the left shows how postcode areas previously displayed on the map. The image on the right shows how the same postcode area now displays on the map.

How Local Insight calculates data for custom areas based on postcodes

Local Insight identifies all the Output Areas (OAs) covered by the uploaded postcodes and then calculates the data based on those component OAs. Local Insight then apportions data for that collection of OAs and their value is the value for your custom areas.

Not sure what Output Areas are? 

Output Areas (OA) are standard areas that were primarily designed for the publication of the Census. They are fairly homogeneous in terms of population size – ranging from 40 to 250 households. The number of postcodes per OA is always changing as new postcodes are added. There are roughly 11 postcodes per OA and no single postcode will cover multiple OAs.

Read more about how data is calculated for different area types.

Please note: Your existing areas created using postcodes have been updated to display in the new format. 

Some historic areas created based on service postcodes may no longer show anything on the map. This is because the service postcodes used to originally create the area were deleted from the service list. You will need to create these areas again. We can do this for you, if you email us on with a list of the areas. Going forward this issue will no longer happen as the services feature has been decoupled from the postcode area feature.

Postcodes validated on import

When creating areas based on postcodes you can either paste in a list of postcodes or upload a CSV.

In both methods, Local Insight checks the postcodes to ensure that they are valid. If there are invalid postcodes (e.g typos, postcodes from other countries), you will see an error message detailing the rows that have invalid postcodes. You can then go back edit those postcodes and reupload.

Reminder of how to create custom areas…

To create a custom area you must have Power User or Group Admin access.

Read our Help Centre article on how to create custom areas based on postcodes.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions or feedback then get in touch with us on or call us 01273 810270.

Download unemployment trend data for your custom areas

In Local Insight, you can explore how unemployment has evolved over the past year for all your custom areas. You can download this trend data for any area using the dashboard. This article provides a step-by-step of how to do that. 


The unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) indicator, often referred to as the ‘claimant count’, is published at LSOA level every month by The Department of Work and Pensions. In turn, Local Insight is updated to include the latest monthly snapshot. 

Since March 2020, rather than overwriting the previous timepoint, we have been adding each monthly snapshot as a new indicator. As a result, you can look at the month on month changes from March 2020 up to the latest published data (March 2021 at the time of writing this article).

Youth unemployment

You can also view the monthly data for youth unemployment (aged 18-24). This indicator shows the proportion of people aged 18-24 receiving Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit for those who are out of work (in the ‘searching for work’ conditionality group) aged 18-24 (as a % of all 18-24 year olds).

Use the dashboard to download the month on month data for your custom areas

Follow these steps to build a dashboard displaying the individual unemployment claimant count datasets for each month for your areas. 

  1. Open the Dashboard tab 
  2. Use the Areas button to select the areas you would like to display
  3. Click on the Data button and select build a custom dashboard 
  4. In the search bar type Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal Credit) or Youth unemployment (18-24 receiving JSA or Universal Credit)
  5. On the right hand side it will now display all the different timepoints
  6. Select the timepoints in the order in which you want them to display 
  7. Click Done

Once you have created your dashboard, you can either view it on Local Insight or export it to Excel. 

You can also copy and paste the dashboard into Excel and keep the colour scale

Create a chart in Excel to show how the data has changed over time

Once you have exported the raw data from the Dashboard, you can then import it into other data visualisation tools such as Power Bi or create charts and graphs directly in Excel.

Round up decimals

Firstly, you may want to round up decimals. You can use the shortcut option here on the Home tab under the ‘Number’ section circled below. These two options allow you to either increase/decrease the decimal places displayed. 

Line chart for time-series data

To visualise the data, a line chart is the most effective way to display changes over time. You can create a line chart in Excel to show the Unemployment time-series data for each of your areas.

Creating a line chart

  • Select the cells from your dashboard export that you want to include in the chart (it is best to do this for a small number of areas/comparators as the chart will look crowded otherwise).
  • Go to the Insert tab and locate the options for Charts, click on Recommended Charts, this will bring up the charts Excel recommends as appropriate, in this case, it’s a line chart which is the most effective way to display time-series data. Click OK to create the chart.

  • You can format the chart however you like by selecting the chart and bringing up the Formatting sidebar – use this to give the chart a title, change the colour, axes display, and much more.
  • You can paste the chart into a document as an image, copy the chart and paste, and on paste options, there is an option for ‘Picture’ that pastes it as an image.

Please note, currently when you export the Dashboard the national comparator data is not in the CSV. To add it in, you can copy and paste it directly from the dashboard. 


When exporting data from Local Insight to use in other reports we would always recommend taking the metadata too. Metadata is contextual information about the dataset covering; the methodology, the time period the data relates to, the update frequency and the publisher. 

To see the metadata for a dataset on the Dashboard click on the dataset name. 

View the unemployment trend data on the map

You can view each monthly snapshot of the unemployment data on the map.

  1. Navigate to the map page
  2. Click on the Data button
  3. Search Unemployment using the search bar
  4. You will see the most recent Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) indicator for the month of March 2021 and the 11 historic timepoints listed beneath

View the count data alongside the percentage figures 

When you view a dataset on the map you can see the count data within the data for more areas popup. To view and download the count data you can do the following: 

  1. Click on the Data button on the map page 
  2. Locate the indicator you are after by searching Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit)
  3. Select to view the dataset on the map
  4. Click on the Info button in the top right corner
  5. Click on the Data for your areas button 
  6. Click Download this dataset in CSV format

This will open up a data table containing all the percentage data in the first column and the count data in the second column. 


In the reports you can see how the data has changed over a much longer time period (2004 to 2021) in charts (page 10).

Local unemployment data is useful for…

The unemployment benefit data gives the most comprehensive figures at a local level of those that are currently unemployed. You can explore the raw LSOA data from The Department of Work and Pensions but in Local Insight you can see the data aggregated for any area that you create in the tool.  

Read more about different measures of unemployment and how the data should and shouldn’t be used. 

Want more time-series data in Local Insight?

We are looking at options to include more time-series data within Local Insight. Please email with any suggestions.


Introducing the revamped Help Centre in Local Insight

The Local Insight Help Centre has had a makeover. It is now easier to find the information and support materials you need to help you get the most out of Local Insight. 

You can access the Help Centre from the Support tab at the top of Local Insight. 

What’s new?

Alongside aesthetic improvements we have added some new features:

  • Getting started video series  
  • New articles
  • Webinar programme 
  • User permission information 

Getting started video series

The video selection can be found in the carousel at the bottom of the Help Centre. The videos are short demonstrations of how to do some of the basics in Local Insight. This is a useful resource for people who are new to Local Insight at your organisation.

Currently, there are videos on: 

If you have any suggestions for more videos let us know on 

New articles

We have added lots of new articles. This includes in depth articles on the data processes and mechanics that underpin Local Insight in the new Data and geographies category.

There is also a new section on how data is calculated for different custom areas. This is a question we get asked a lot and so, we wanted to publish the information so that everyone can understand how custom areas are defined. Find these articles under the Areas category.

Webinar programme 

We run monthly webinars that are open to all users of Local Insight. You can sign up through the Webinars tab found at the bottom of the Help Centre page.

This will redirect you to the Local Insight Eventbrite page that lists all the upcoming webinars. 

User permission information 

Not every user has access to all the features in Local Insight. There are 3 different levels of access permission. To help you understand the features you can and cannot access, there are now user permission notes at the top of relevant articles.

There is also an article that shows you how to understand the user permission level you have

Get in touch

The Help Centre is a great place to look if you have a question about Local Insight. However, you can still contact us on if you need help. 

We are always looking to improve Local Insight and the support materials. So any feedback on the tool or article suggestions are welcome!


Office Christmas closure

OCSI will be closed from Monday 21 December to Friday 1 January inclusive.

We will not be able to respond to any Local Insight support requests during this time. We will answer emails when the office re-opens Monday 4 January.

We hope you have a lovely break over the festive period!

Download all the data in Local Insight at MSOA level

We have extended the All Data Download feature so that you can now download all the data (more than 1000 datasets) in Local Insight at MSOA level as well as at LSOA level. 

We hope that access to the raw data at both LSOA and MSOA level will make further analysis even easier. 

How to download the data 

Both the MSOA and the LSOA data downloads are accessible as CSV files on the Reports tab. The files will be updated on a quarterly basis, so that you always have the latest data at your fingertips. We will send an email notification to all users every time the files are updated.

Please note, the All Data Download is not available for public access sites

What does the file contain?

Data download for all LSOAs in England – This file contains data for all the indicators in Local Insight at LSOA level, as well as the associated metadata (e.g. name, description, date, source).

Data download for all MSOAs in England – This file contains data for all the indicators in Local Insight at MSOA level, as well as the associated metadata (e.g. name, description, date, source). 

How to find the MSOAs you care about

Column E indicates the Local Authority each MSOA resides in. You can filter this column to show only the MSOAs for a selected Local Authority / number of Local Authorities. This will make the file more manageable. 

Further analysis

The All Data Download makes further analysis easier outside of Local Insight. For example, anybody within your organisation could very quickly and easily:

  • Use Excel or other visualisation tools to produce your own charts and tables for use in your analysis.
  • Identify which (if any) of your LSOAs/MSOAs are in the 10% most deprived nationally for the index of multiple deprivation.

Or you could delve even further into the data, using the Rank command in Excel for benchmarking or using conditional formatting to see whether the areas you care about score relatively high or low compared to other areas. 

Download data for other geographies  

To download data for your custom areas in Local Insight you can build a custom dashboard and export the data.

Full guidance and feedback

For more information on using the All Data Download, please read through the Help Centre.

If you have any thoughts and feedback on this new addition then get in touch on We’d love to hear how you are going to use the All Data Download and if there is anything we can do to make the process of accessing and analysing data any easier.

Time series data for unemployment benefit in Local Insight

Explore how unemployment is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns with times series data in Local Insight. 

The Department for Work and Pensions publishes Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) every month. In turn, we update the data in Local Insight  to show the latest monthly snapshot. 

Given the dramatic changes to unemployment and the effects that it may have on your communities, we have added in the previous 3 months unemployment benefit data as individual indicators, so that you can see the month-on-month change for your areas. These datasets can be displayed on the map and downloaded for your custom areas.

Alongside the usual monthly updates for Unemployment (June 2020), we have added 3 historical time-points for the indicator Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit):

  • March 2020
  • April 2020
  • May 2020

How to view this data on Local Insight

The map

  1. Click on the Data button
  2. Search Unemployment using the search bar
  3. You will see the most recent Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) indicator for the month of June 2020 and the 3 historic timepoints listed beneath

Click on image to see full size

Download the data for all 4 timepoints for your custom areas

  1. Click on the Data button
  2. Search Unemployment using the search bar
  3. You will see the most recent Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) indicator for the month of June 2020 and the 3 historic timepoints listed beneath
  4. Select the first time point
  5. Click on the Info button
  6. Click Data for your areas (this will open up a popup with data for your custom areas)
  7. Click Download this dataset in CSV format
  8. Repeat this process for the other 3 timepoints 

Click on image to see full size

Please note in the Data for your areas popup the table of data has two columns. The first column shows the percentage figure, the second column shows the count data. When you export the data to a CSV only the percentage figure is exported. Adding the count data to the export is one of the development priorities for Local Insight in 2020 and will be coming soon. 

Download the time series data for your custom areas using the dashboard

Select the data you want to show 

  • Open the Dashboard tab 
  • Click on the Data button 
  • Select Build a custom dashboard
  • Type in Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal Credit) into the search bar
  • You will then see all the time points available listed 
  • Select the time points that you want to show in (they will show in order of selection) 
  • Once you have selected all the time points click Done

Select the areas you want to show 

  • Click on the Areas button 
  • Select the area you want to show 
  • Click Done 

Export the data 

Click on the export button to export the data into a CSV.

In the reports 

This data has not been added to the reports. The reports do however already contain a chart that shows how Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) has changed since 2004 (page 10).

Figure: Unemployment benefit (Jobseekers Allowance/Universal Credit) claimants Source: Department for Work and Pensions

Figure: Unemployment benefit (Jobseekers Allowance/Universal Credit) claimants
Source: Department for Work and Pensions

Would you like to see more time series data in Local Insight?

We are looking at options to include more time series data within Local Insight. Please email with any suggestions for what would be useful and to register interest in taking part in future user research on this topic. 

Removed Monthly Change in Unemployment Indicator

We have removed the indicator Monthly Change in Unemployment. The new indicators for Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal credit) for the last four months supersede this indicator. For those groups who had it assigned to a theme, it will no longer be available. 

Further reading

If you are interested in how COVID-19 has affected employment and the economy more broadly, take a look at some of our recent analysis: 

How to upload non-numerical survey data to Local Insight

Local Insight offers a number of ways to add your own organisational data into the system. The Upload your data functionality allows you to import datasets that display on the maps in the same way as the standard datasets that we include in the tool for you.

You can use this functionality to upload some non-numerical results of surveys that you run with residents or service users with a little bit of data reformatting.

This guide will run you through the process of uploading your data in this way.

You will need to be a Group Admin to upload your own data to Local Insight.

A choropleth map displaying percentage data on current smokers


1. Is your data suitable for uploading in this way?

You will first need to determine whether the data you want to upload is suitable for the Upload your data tool. 

The dataset must have:

  1. Geographic data: When uploading survey data, you will most likely want to use postcodes (however, you can also upload data at OA, LSOA, MSOA or LA level).
  2. Binary data: The survey question must have only two possible responses.


As part of an annual residents survey, you collected respondents’ postcodes and asked ‘are you a current smoker?’

  1. In this case, you have suitable geographic data for every respondent (their postcode)
  2. The respondent can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question, so it is suitable to upload into Local Insight.

Not suitable:

As part of an annual residents survey, you collected respondents’ postcodes and asked ‘what is your ethnic group?’

  1. In this case, you have suitable geographic data for every respondent (their postcode)
  2. The respondent could give a wide range of answers to this question and so it is not suitable to load in as the tool cannot import categorical data.

If you are unsure whether your dataset can be imported in this way, please get in touch at and we can talk it through with you.

2. Set up your metadata

Go to:

  • Group Admin
  • Manage your data
  • New dataset

General guidance for setting up metadata can be found in the Help Centre.

When setting up the metadata for survey responses, take note of the following points:

  • Description: Make it clear that the data has come from survey responses. You may want to include details on the question that was asked and the sample size
  • Percentage suffix: When you import the data into the tool it will display as a percentage. Make sure you add the percentage sign to the Suffix box when asked
  • Decimal points: Depending on what you are uploading, you may want to include one or two decimal places
  • Aggregation method: You will be asked ‘how should we create data for higher areas from your uploaded data?’ You must select Averaging here
  • Suppression: If you are uploading postcode level data that is potentially sensitive, you can select a suppression threshold (Please see the Help Centre for more information on suppression).

3. Format your data

When it comes to importing your data, you can do this via uploading a CSV file or through copying and pasting values.

In each case, you will need to ensure that you have two columns of data correctly formatted in an Excel document. 

  • Geographic data: In one column, you will need a postcode (or other geographic code) in each row. 
  • Binary, numerical data: In another column, you will need your survey responses in numerical format.

4. How to turn your survey data into numerical data

Let’s go back to the earlier example of asking ‘Are you a current smoker?’ Each respondent would have answered ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

In order to import the data into Local Insight, you need to turn this into numerical data. To do this, all the respondents that answered ‘No’ should have the value of 0 and all the respondents that answered ‘Yes’ should have the value of 100.

Shows three columns in an Excel spreadsheet displaying survey data, numerical data and postcodes

Tip: You can bulk change all your responses to numerical data using the Find and Replace functionality in Excel.

  • Find all instances of ‘Yes’ and replace all with 100
  • Find all instance of ‘No’ and replace all with 0

Screenshot showing the Find and Replace all functionality in Excel

Alternatively, you could also use an IF statement to do this. This may be a better option if your survey results are denoted by single letters (eg. ‘Y’ and ‘N’) as you may end up replacing some of your postcode data using a simple ‘Find and Replace all’.

5. Import data

You can now import your data into Local Insight. At this stage, it doesn’t matter if you have more columns than you need – you will be able to filter these later.

If your spreadsheet includes formulae (eg. if you have used an IF statement), you must save the file as a CSV file, rather than Excel, before importing.

Follow the on-screen instructions to import your data. Further guidance is available in the Help Centre:

6. Add dataset to your maps and dashboard

Now that your data has been imported, you can add it to your Map and default dashboard using the Manage Indicators functionality.

The data will be displayed on your maps and dashboard as percentage figures.

Improvements to Local Insight to help save you time

One part of our current development plan is to improve Local Insight so you spend less time searching for data and more time using data.

We are excited to introduce two new improvements that enable you to:

  • Search for indicators on the map more easily
  • Identify your areas with ease using MSOA names 

Search for indicators on the map more easily

One of our users described Local Insight as their ‘Data Dictionary’. We love this description as it captures the breadth of data available in the tool (over 1000 indicators in fact!). With so much data available, being able to find what you are looking for quickly is important.

We have added a search bar to the Data dropdown on the Map page so that you can hone in on what you are interested in, in far fewer clicks.

Data search bar

How to use

  1. Click on the Data button to open the menu of themes and their indicators 
  2. The search bar is at the top. Type in any text and the indicators that contain that string of text will be displayed under their theme heading
  3. Click on an indicator name to view it on the map
  4. To show the full menu of indicators again, delete the text in the search bar 

Please note: Not all indicators within Local Insight are shown within the Data menu by default. There are over 1000 datasets in Local Insight and the Group Admin user(s) select which ones are shown. If a user searches for an indicator that is available in Local Insight but not assigned to a theme then nothing will come up in the search.


Identify your areas with ease using MSOA names 

MSOAs are an integral geography in Local Insight. You can view indicators on the map at MSOA level and you can create custom areas out of MSOAs. However, MSOA codes are not easily recognisable – they are made up of two parts: The parent Local Authority and a string of numbers. For example, Westminster 018. 

Meaningful Names

The House of Commons Library has created a set of meaningful names for MSOAs (also available on an interactive map). We have added these names into Local Insight to make it easier for you to find the areas you are interested in. As part of this, we have also changed the LSOA names to incorporate the name of the parent MSOA to help you have a better idea of where the LSOA is located.


Previous MSOA code New MSOA names 
Westminster 018 Strand, St James & Mayfair – Westminster 018
Westminster 019 Knightsbridge, Belgravia & Hyde Park – Westminster 019
Westminster 020 Central Westminster – Westminster 020

Where can you see these new names?

The names can be found in two places on Local Insight: 

  • When hovering over areas on the map
  • When creating custom areas out of MSOA or LSOA areas


When hovering over areas on the map

  1. Choose an indicator from the Data button and select to display it on the map 
  2. Zoom in to view the data at either MSOA or LSOA level (the Info popup will inform you at which level you are viewing the data)
  3. Minimise the Info popup, and then hover over the areas on the map
  4. In the top right hand corner will be a small box that displays the MSOA/LSOA area name and the value for that area

MSOA hover


When creating custom areas out of MSOA or LSOA areas

In Local Insight, you can create areas made up of MSOAs and LSOAs. The new names will now display in the custom area creation popup. 

  1. Click Group Admin Manage custom areas
    1. Click Add custom area
    2. Select Custom Area Type Based on standard area
  2. Select to browse the list of MSOAs or LSOAs

MSOA names

Please note: Only Group Admin and Power Users can create custom areas in Local Insight.

If you are unfamiliar with the terms LSOA and MSOA, these are statistical geographies created for the Census. Read more about them in our blog: LSOAs, LEPs and lookups : A beginner’s guide to statistical geographies.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on or give us a call on 01273 810270

Identify areas with higher proportions of people from at-risk groups

Hi all

We hope you, your loved ones and your colleagues are keeping as well and safe as possible at the moment. 

We have had a few requests for guidance on which datasets within Local Insight could be used to help inform responses to COVID-19 through identifying areas with higher proportions of people from at-risk groups.

Our Research Team has produced a list of datasets  that may be potentially useful covering:

  •  at-risk groups: including older people, underlying health conditions and benefit claimants for health and disability 
  • groups requiring additional support: including single-person households, households with no cars and prevalence of dementia
  • economic factors: (key workers and vulnerable sectors). 

These are all available in Local Insight and can be used immediately. We have also made these available as a mini data download at MSOA level for England. Please share with anybody that might find it useful.

There are also two new indicators available in Local Insight that could be useful:

  • Households on Universal Credit – Limited Capability for Work Entitlement: This captures those who are receiving Universal Credit due to poor physical or mental health. Universal Credit is increasingly replacing legacy work-limiting illness related benefits including Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit so it provides a more comprehensive measure of those out of work due to poor health and disability.
  •  Personal Independence Payment (PIP), respiratory disease claimants: This measures those who are receiving additional financial help to manage conditions associated with respiratory diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, heart and lung transplants and various lung diseases and diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract.

For a reminder on how to add indicators to your Maps, please see Customise themes and indicators. You can select which indicators appear on the Dashboard from within the dashboard itself using the  Build a custom dashboard functionality.

Many of you must be under enormous amounts of pressure at the moment. Please let us know via if there is any additional support we can give you during this time and we will do our very best to help.