Data Updates in Local Insight

Featured

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.

Monthly Data Updates
2023 – July
2023 – June
2023 – May
2023 – March
2023 – February
2023 – January
2022 – November
2022 – October
2022 – September
2022 – August
2022 – July

Community Needs Index 2023

The Community Need Index (CNI) has been refined, updated and is now available exclusively in Local Insight. The CNI serves as a valuable tool for those looking to explore social and cultural factors that can impact upon people’s outcomes in different neighbourhoods.

This blog will provide more information on the available indicators and how you can explore them in Local Insight.

Contents:

Indicators in Local Insight

We have included four new datasets in Local Insight; the scores for each individual domain and the overall Community Need Index. In each case, a higher score indicates higher levels of community need.

  • Community Needs Index 2023: Civic Assets score
  • Community Needs Index 2023: Connectedness score
  • Community Needs Index 2023: Active and Engaged Community score
  • Community Needs Index 2023: Community Needs score

Background

The Community Needs Index was first developed in 2019 to identify areas experiencing poor community and civic infrastructure, relative isolation and low levels of participation in community life. The CNI has really resonated with policymakers and analysts across central government, local government and civil society organisations. 

The research has contributed to the formation of the APPG for left behind neighbourhoods, has been used to allocate resources for the Know your Neighbourhood Fund and we have worked with organisations to do a deep dive into the Community Needs Index for their area.

Following engagement with key stakeholders and a wider consultation, we are pleased to have refined the index for 2023. We have reviewed the geography, underlying indicators and weighting methodology used. Full details are available in the Technical Methodology Paper.

Comparability between the two iterations 

Following changes to the unit of geography and the indicators included in the measure, the updated Community Needs Index 2023 is not directly comparable to the earlier Community Needs Index 2019.

Previously, 2017 Wards were used as the underlying unit of geography – this is because Wards tend to be centred around existing neighbourhoods and so are often familiar to people. However, with Ward boundaries changing on an annual basis and their size varying significantly, the updated CNI 2023 instead uses LSOAs as the underlying unit of geography. This is because LSOA boundaries only change every 10 years, they are more homogenous in size and are better placed to identify needs in rural areas. Due to this difference in geography between the two iterations of the Index, these measures should not be compared or analysed to show change over time.

When updating the CNI, we reviewed the underlying indicators and, where necessary, updated to the most recent time-point. In some cases, indicators have been replaced by more robust indicators from alternative sources, or new indicators have been added to strengthen the Index and capture a different facet of community need. For full details of the underlying indicators, please see pages 10 – 21 in the Technical Methodology Paper.

Exploring the CNI in Local Insight

You can view both the 2019 and 2023 Community Need Index scores in Local Insight. Since they are not directly comparable, we have not grouped them together in the tool. The 2023 score has replaced the 2019 score in the default “Communities” theme, and if you had the 2019 score in a custom theme this has been replaced with the 2023 score. The 2019 score can now be found in the “Unassigned” theme, on the Manage Indicators page, if you wish to continue using it.

What the CNI can help you measure

The Community Need Index was developed to measure some of the processes that Local Trust had been observing in many of the communities it was working in through the Big Local programme.  These are often peripheral areas with shared characteristics, where residents were consistently identifying lack of spaces to meet and poor connectivity as priority issues, while an active and engaged community was seen as a key ingredient to help affect meaningful change and tackle deprivation. 

The Index incorporates community and social challenges which have not been captured in more traditional deprivation metrics such as the Indices of Deprivation (IoD). These include poor community and civic infrastructure and low levels of participation and engagement in the wider community. As such, the CNI is an extremely useful way to measure the absence of an active third sector, well developed social networks and a strong presence of civic assets, all of which help support the social fabric of an area.

How to interpret the values 

The Community Need Index has been formed by standardising and combining 28 indicators under three different domains:

  • Civic Assets
  • Connectedness
  • Active and Engaged Community

Each of these three domains has its own associated score. In addition, the three domain scores are standardised and combined to produce the overall Index score (Community Needs score). Equal weights have been applied to each of the three domains to mirror the approach taken in the 2019 CNI where equal weights were selected to reflect the equal importance of each dimension of Community Need.

When interpreting the CNI, a higher score indicates that an area has higher levels of community need. As with many indices, it is a relative rather than an absolute measure. This means you can compare how your neighbourhood performs relative to other areas. However, you can’t say one area is twice as bad or half as bad as another. The number itself is only meaningful in a relative rather than absolute sense. In the below example, we can see that the Local Authority of Nottingham has a higher community needs score than Birmingham. Therefore, we can say that Nottingham has poor civic infrastructure and community engagement relative to Birmingham.

It is also not possible to compare scores across domains, as each domain is standardised and scaled differently (for example, the Civic Assets scores range from -3.5 to 2.6, while the connectedness scores range from 1.2 to 189.5). Moreover, due to changes in the way indicators have been weighted and combined, as well as changes to the spatial scale used in the standardisation calculations, it is not possible to compare the scores produced in 2023 with the scores in 2019 across the Index or underlying domains.

Census 2021 Multivariate Data Release: What’s Next in Local Insight

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has recently released multivariate data from the 2021 Census, and we have started to add key indicators to Local Insight. Multivariate data is important because it allows us to combine indicators to gain a deeper understanding of our communities. With a vast number of possible combinations, we would like to know what you are most interested in seeing in the tool.

The ONS has released the data in the form of an online build a custom dataset tool. This means you can choose which indicators you would like to combine, and which geographic level you’d like to see the data for.

However, this should be used with caution as there are gaps in the data for some indicator combinations at small area level. This may be due to data suppression, to avoid the risk of identifying individuals from the data. For instance, multivariate indicators related to sexuality and gender identity are not available below LA level. 

Multivariate data has relatively low numbers when compared to indicators with a single variant. This can lead to inaccuracies when apportioning and aggregating data for use with custom areas. Therefore, to make sure that the data we’re using is useful, we will only add multivariate indicators to Local Insight when they are available nationally at Output Area (OA) level. This allows for accurate aggregation for larger custom areas.

There is some multivariate data available at OA level for the following themes:

  • Economic activity status
  • Overcrowded housing
  • General health
  • Highest level of qualification
  • Occupation
  • Tenure
  • Unpaid care

For each of these themes, we will provide data for a range of groups including ethnicity, age, gender, household composition, disability and carers. For example, highest level of qualification by different age groups. We will also provide data for where those themes intersect with each other. For example, overcrowded housing by general health. As above, this is subject to the data being available at OA level.

Our research team is currently prioritising key combinations. We want to know which themes you are most interested in seeing so that we can add them to the tool more quickly. We are running a webinar on May 3rd at 11am focusing on the Census multivariate data, which you can sign up for here. Please let us know which themes are most important to you via this form.

Census 2021: Multivariate Indicators added to Local Insight

Some Multivariate census data is now live in Local Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas.

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Local Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Local Insight”.

Summary of published data

We have added nine multivariate Census 2021 indicators to Local Insight. Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen live in Local Insight:

  • Children providing unpaid care
  • Employment rate by ethnicity (5 indicators)
  • People aged over 65 with not good health
  • People travelling more than 10km to work by public transport and by driving (2 indicators)

Click here to download a list of all updated Census indicators.

Reports

We have updated Children Providing Unpaid Care in the Local Insight reports (see Vulnerable Groups: page 23). You will need to update your reports in order to see Census 2021 data here.

The Benefits Data Landscape

Local Insight contains a number of indicators from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). These indicators are useful for understanding labour market activity and vulnerable groups in your areas.

This blog will inform you of the changing landscape, such as the move to Universal Credit, so that you can use these datasets with confidence. We also provide recommendations for which indicators to use in Local Insight for different topics.

Read on to find out about:

The rollout of Universal Credit

In the early 2010s, the DWP began a major reform of the benefits system, moving away from multiple benefits payable to people with different needs towards a single benefit – Universal Credit (UC). 

The full-service rollout was completed in 2018. However, the managed migration of existing benefit claimants was delayed by the pandemic and is incomplete. As a result, some people are still receiving the benefits that preceded UC, sometimes referred to as ‘legacy benefits’. This includes Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). As this affects those that have been claiming Job Seekers Allowance on a long-term basis, using UC alone may exclude many long-term unemployed from the figures. Migration is uneven across different parts of the country. The House of Commons Library regularly releases data on how far the rollout has progressed

As a result of the ongoing migration to UC, it can be difficult to know which DWP indicators to use. For example, looking solely at people in receipt of UC may miss groups of people who are still on the legacy benefits. To mitigate this, Local Insight includes a number of indicators that contain benefit combinations to cover people on legacy benefits as well as those receiving UC. This includes the below indicators: 

  • Unemployment Benefit (JSA and Universal Credit)
  • Working Age Benefit Claimants (Benefit Combinations)
  • Claiming out of Work Benefits (Benefits Combination)
  • People receiving Disability Benefits [This is a derived indicator created by OCSI]
  • People of Pensionable Age Claiming DWP Benefits (Benefits Combinations)

Recommended indicators to use

Unemployment Benefit (JSA and Universal Credit)

This indicator gives the most comprehensive figures at a local level of those that are currently unemployed. You may also see this referred to simply as the ‘claimant count’.  This figure is a combination of JSA claimants and a subset of Universal Credit claimants, which covers those that are required to seek work and be available for work.

Local Insight also contains a subset of this indicator that shows Youth unemployment (18-24 receiving JSA or Universal Credit).

How often it’s updated: Monthly 

Working Age Benefit Claimants (Benefit Combinations)

This indicator shows the proportion of people of working age receiving DWP benefits. In this dataset, the working age is defined as people aged 16-64 (this is the denominator that the DWP uses).

Working age DWP Benefits are benefits payable to all people of working age (16-64) who need additional financial support due to low income, worklessness, poor health, caring responsibilities, bereavement or disability. 

How often it’s updated: Quarterly

Claiming out of work benefits (Benefit Combinations)

This shows the total benefit combinations for individuals that claim Out of Work benefits. Out of work benefits are defined as being on at least one of the following benefits: Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA), Income Support (IS) where Carers Allowance (CA) not also in payment, Pension Credit (PC) where Carers Allowance (CA) and Universal Credit (UC) conditionality regime is one of Searching for Work, Preparing for Work or Planning for Work. 

How often it’s updated: Quarterly

People of Pensionable Age Claiming DWP Benefits (Benefit Combinations)

Shows the total benefit combinations for State Pension Age individuals. The benefit combinations shown in these statistics do not cover every possible combination. This does not include those that claim State Pension Only. Currently, this indicator uses 65 as the State Pension Age, this is set by the DWP. 

How often it’s updated: Quarterly

People receiving Disability Benefits 

The previous indicators are all published directly by DWP. The People receiving Disability Benefits indicator is a derived indicator created by our Research Team at OCSI.  It combines people receiving the legacy Disability Living Allowance benefit with the new style Personal Independence Payment (PIP).  

How often it’s updated: Annually

The advantages of these indicators 

This suite of benefit combination indicators is useful for a number of reasons:

  • They are published at a small area level (LSOA) so you can see how your local areas fare on these indicators.
  • They are updated frequently by DWP and in turn by us in Local Insight so you know you are looking at relevant data.
  • They are from a robust data sample. 

Viewing change over time for unemployment

In Local Insight, you can explore how the proportion of those in receipt of unemployment benefits has changed over the past few years. This is only possible for the two below indicators:

  • Unemployment Benefit (JSA and Universal Credit)
  • Youth unemployment (18-24 receiving JSA or Universal Credit)

This is part of an experiment to improve how you can access trend data in Local Insight. We are continuing to look at ways of improving this and are always keen to hear feedback on support@ocsi.co.uk

Viewing the unemployment  trend data on the map

  • Click on the Data button
  • Search Unemployment using the search bar
  • You will see the most recent Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal Credit) indicator and the historic time points listed beneath going back to March 2020

Use the dashboard to download the unemployment trend 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 time points in the order you want them to display 
  7. Click Done
  8. Once you have created your dashboard, you can either view it on Local Insight or export it to Excel to create your own visualisations 
  9. You can also copy and paste the dashboard into Excel and keep the colour scale

Reports

In the reports, you can see how the data has changed over a much longer time period between 2004 and 2023 (page 10).

Identifying Rural Poverty in Local Insight

Introduction

Poverty is a complex issue affecting individuals and communities across the UK, including in rural areas. Some methods that are used to identify poverty can lead to pockets of deprivation in rural areas being overlooked or hidden.

The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), for example, is published at the Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) level. LSOAs have an average population of 1,500; in an urban area with higher population density this would equate to a much smaller physical geography than it would in a rural area. Therefore, while an urban LSOA is likely to have a much more consistent socioeconomic demographic, a rural LSOA may contain multiple villages where some are much more deprived than others. Here, the IMD score would be unlikely to identify the rural LSOA as being one of the more deprived areas, so the more deprived village/s within it may be overlooked.

So how can we overcome this? When considering rural poverty, some indicators will be more useful than others. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Rural Urban Classification can also be a useful tool. Used in combination with custom areas in Local Insight, we can find more meaningful ways to use data to help us identify rural poverty.

Choosing the most helpful indicators

Lifestyle can vary significantly between rural and urban areas, so certain things might be a sign of deprivation in one but not necessarily in the other. A good example of this is car ownership, which is more of a necessity in rural areas since public transport tends to be a lot less available and efficient there. While car ownership in general would tend to be higher in rural than urban areas, if you can look at just the rural areas, comparatively lower levels of car ownership may signify deprivation. If you identify rural areas with low levels of car ownership you may wish to combine this with indicators like public transport and access to services. You can build a custom dashboard in Local Insight to look at these indicators together for your areas.

The indicators that tend to be most useful when looking at rural poverty can be loosely categorised as being related to connectivity (both physical and digital), employment or living costs. Due to the nature of rural areas, access to services can be more limited. People might need to travel longer distances, so increased fuel or transportation costs may have a greater impact. Houses tend to be older on average and have lower EPC ratings, so fuel poverty might be more commonplace. 

Below are some indicators that our Research team here at OCSI suggest for looking at rural poverty, and an example of a custom dashboard set up in Local Insight using some of these indicators:

Table showing the following indicators: car ownership, various 'travel time to...', broadband speed, digital exclusion, food index, cost of living, households in fuel poverty, affordable housing, job access score, jobs density, low skills, unemployment, distance to job centres.

How to find indicators in Local Insight

There are over 1500 indicators in Local Insight that you can view on the map and dashboard. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this in these sections of our help centre:

Custom Areas

As we’ve seen, looking at data at LSOA level can lead to rural areas being overlooked in some contexts. One way of overcoming this is to look below LSOA level, allowing smaller areas of deprivation to be picked up. Rural parishes tend to be very small, and more reflective of the actual communities on the ground than LSOAs. This means a Parish is likely to contain households of a more similar socioeconomic demographic than a rural LSOA would, so setting up parishes as custom areas in Local Insight may be useful.

When data is released at Output Area (OA) level, it is stored in Local Insight at that level and the tool will use the OA level data to aggregate for larger areas. When data is released at LSOA level the tool will apportion this down to OA level and aggregate for larger areas. Therefore, if you’re looking at parishes which are smaller than LSOAs but larger than OAs, and you are looking at indicators that have been released at OA level, then you will be looking at accurate data for your parishes. At the time of writing, there are 640 indicators in Local Insight at OA level – you can find a full list of these by downloading our list of all indicators and filtering by ‘lowest published geography’.

Below is an example of this. The Parish, Egmanton, sits within the LSOA Newark and Sherwood 003B in Nottinghamshire. The screenshots below show this on the map, and in the ‘data for your areas’ popups for two indicators. The IMD rank is released at LSOA level and therefore shows the same value for the parish as for the LSOA. In contrast, the ‘households with no car’ indicator is released at OA level and aggregated for the parish.

The parish of Egmanton and the LSOA it sits within shown on the map

Data for your areas popup for the IMD showing the same value for the parish as for the LSOA

Data for your areas popup for Households with no car showing an accurate value for the parish

 

How to set up parishes as Custom Areas in Local Insight

The best way to do this would be to use the shapefile importer, which is explained in this section of our Help Centre: Import Shapefiles.

You can download shapefiles for parishes from the ONS Open Geography portal – go to ‘boundaries’ > ‘administrative boundaries’ > ‘parishes’ > ‘2022 boundaries’. The file you want is called ‘Parishes (December 2022) EW BGC’ – in the description you will see ‘generalised (20m) – clipped to the coastline’. You can filter by the parishes that you want, making sure you toggle filters when downloading the file. This process is shown in the video below.

The ONS file doesn’t allow you to filter parishes by ward or local authority. If you would like all parishes in a Local Authority, and want to avoid the need to filter for them all individually, it is necessary to download all parishes and then filter the shapefile by the ones you want using a lookup table. This can be done using GIS software. If you’re not able to do this, get in touch at support@ocsi.co.uk and we can help.

ONS Rural Urban Classification

The ONS have analysed every settlement in the country. Settlements of more than 10,000 people are classified as Urban, and settlements of below 10,000 people are classified as rural. Each OA in the country has been assigned a settlement type. This leaflet goes into more detail about the methodology and definitions used.

In Local Insight, we can add the rural and urban classifications as custom areas. The below example shows how each of these look for Essex. We have also added a group boundary. 

The areas are made up from their constituent OAs and provide full coverage of Essex.  You can see all of the individual OAs outlined on the map. This makes it a bit difficult to see which areas are and aren’t included when you’re looking at the rural classification area. There are ways to make this easier to view.

You can:

  • select the urban area and look at the areas that are outside it. 
  • zoom in on the map to see the area boundaries more clearly. 

If you think these areas would be helpful for your organisation, get in touch at support@ocsi.co.uk.

Essex urban areas and group boundary shown on the map

Essex Urban Areas

Essex rural areas and group boundary shown on the map

Essex Rural Areas

Summary of Census 2021 data in Local Insight

We have added or updated more than 400 census indicators in Local Insight across all topic summaries.

Our blogs provide more detail on each release, including all indicators that are now available in Local Insight.

Census 2021: Health, disability, and unpaid care data available in Local Insight

The small area Health, disability, and unpaid care census data is now live in Local Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas. 

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Local Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Local Insight”.

Summary of published data

Download the full list of indicators now available in Local Insight.

We have added 17 indicators to Local Insight. This release includes small area data from the Health, disability, and unpaid care topic summary. Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen live in Local Insight:

  • Disability (3 indicators) 
  • General health (5 indicators) 
  • Number of disabled people in the household (3 indicators) 
  • Provision of unpaid care (6 indicators) 

Reports

We have updated 3 of the indicators in the Local Insight report (see Health and wellbeing: page 38). You will need to update your reports in order to see Census 2021 data here.

Census 2021: Population by 5 year age bands available in Local Insight

The small area population by 5 year age bands census data is now live in Local Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas. 

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Local Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Local Insight”.

Summary of published data

Download the full list of indicators now available in Local Insight.

We have added 19 indicators to Local Insight. Starting with people aged 0-4 and going up in 5 year bands until people aged 85 and over.

Please note, there are various indicators for population in Local Insight, due to figures being published as part of Mid-Year estimates and figures published as part of Census 2021 data release.

All indicators for small-area census population data are named in the following format:

  • People aged X-Y (Census 2021)

We have also created a derived indicator that shows people aged 0-14 (Census 2021).

Single age band data and bespoke age ranges

The single age band data has not yet been published at small area level. Therefore, we are unable to create derived bespoke age bands at this stage. 

If you are interested in seeing data for a particular age band please let us know on support@ocsi.co.uk and when possible, we will add those indicators into Local Insight.

Reports

We have updated the headline indicators on page 4 of the Population section in the Local Insight reports. You will need to update your reports in order to see Census 2021 data here.

Please note, the 5 year age band population by gender chart still shows data from the 2020 Mid-Year Estimates (ONS). This is because the gender breakdown data has not yet been published.

Also the population line chart that shows data over time contains data from the 2020 Mid-Year Estimates (ONS). This is because this data is more frequently published (annually) and so shows more insight.

Census 2021: Education data available in Local Insight

The small area education census data is now live in Local Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas. 

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Local Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Local Insight”.

Summary of published data

Download the full list of indicators now available in Local Insight.

We have added 7 indicators to Local Insight. This release includes small area data from the education topic summary. The 7 indicators below are now live in Local Insight: 

  • People with no qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Level 1 qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Level 2 qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Level 3 qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Level 4/5 (degree or higher) qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Other qualifications (Census 2021)
  • Highest level of qualification: Apprenticeship (Census 2021)

Reports

We have updated 5 of the indicators in the Local Insight report (see Education & skills: page 47). You will need to update your reports in order to see Census 2021 data here.

Census 2021: Sexual orientation and gender identity data available in Local Insight

The small area sexual orientation and gender identity census data is now live in Local Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas. 

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Local Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Local Insight”.

Summary of published data

Download the full list of indicators now available in Local Insight.

We have added 26 indicators to Local Insight. This release includes small area data from the sexual orientation and gender identity topic summary. Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen live in Local Insight: 

  • Sexual orientation (13 indicators)
  • Gender identity (11 indicators)
  • Non respondents to these questions (2 indicators)

ONS also published 4 indicators; Non-binary, Pansexual, Asexual and Queer. These indicators are currently not available in Local Insight as the data is only published at Local Authority level. If you were interested in uploading this data yourself to Local Insight please get in touch on support@ocsi.co.uk.

More information about these datasets 

The question about sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2021 census was voluntary. 

In total, 92.5% of the population aged 16 years and over answered the question on sexual orientation and 94.0% of the population aged 16 years and over answered the question on gender identity. Read more about this on the ONS website

ONS percentages are calculated using the overall population rather than the population who responded to the sexual orientation and gender identity question. 

Alongside adding the official ONS figures to Local Insight, we have also included additional indicators that use only people who responded to the sexual orientation and gender identity question as the denominator. These indicators are displayed as [sexuality] (as a % of all who responded to the sexual orientation questions) (Census 2021).

Below is an example how these distinct indicators display in Local Insight

  • Bisexual (as a % of all who responded to the sexual orientation questions)  (Census 2021)
  • Bisexual (as a % of all aged 16+) (Census 2021)

These supplementary indicators that use respondents only as the denominator provide additional value as the response rates vary considerably across local areas. There are a multitude of possible driving factors behind non-response rates, which are not necessarily related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Non respondents

We have also added 2 indicators that show the non response rates for this topic. These two indicators are called:

  • Non respondents to the sexual orientation question  (as a % of all aged 16+) (Census 2021)
  • Non respondents to the gender identity question  (as a % of all aged 16+) (Census 2021)

Reports

We have not added any of the sexual orientation and gender identity indicators to the Local Insight reports.