SWO Annual Report 2010-11

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South West Observatory Annual Report 2010/11

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SWO Annual Report 2010-11

  1. 1. ANNUAL REPORT 2010/11Better information, better understanding, better decisions
  2. 2. contents Contents01 Foreword 18 Economy 30 The Year Ahead02 Director’s Report 19 Environment 31 Coming Up 2011/1204 Observatory Network 20 Housing and Planning 32 Financial Support06 Events 21 Public Health 33 Contact Details08 Annual Conference 22 Skills and Learning10 Publications and Briefings 23 Culture11 Local Profiles 24 Local Intelligence Networks Cornwall12 Consultations Devon Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole13 Commissions Gloucestershire Plymouth14 Local Economic Development Somerset Swindon16 Communications Torbay West of England Wiltshire
  3. 3. foreword This year’s Annual Conference, held I would like to thank all who have in the impressive new conference contributed so much to the success facilities at Somerset County of the Observatory across the region, Cricket Club’s Taunton headquarters, ensuring that policy and decision- focused on the crucial importance making have been fully informed by of evidence to policy and decision- the best available information and making - and the tendency at times analysis. The need for this is essential for politicians and other decision in the challenging times ahead. makers to see evidence as an ‘inconvenient truth’. The scope and ease of access to information has increased dramatically since we first heard talk of ‘evidence-based policy-making’ and the Observatory Professor Martin Boddy and its partners have done much University of the West of England to enhance this across the region. and Chair of the SWO Advisory BoardI am delighted to introduce the The aim must be to ensure that, in2010/11 Annual Report of the difficult times, we take full accountSouth West Observatory. This of the evidence and what it tells us.report describes the vast range ofactivities that the Observatory and As resources are squeezed andour partners have been involved in as familiar structures of regionalover the last year. You will find that in governance and policy makingchanging and challenging times, the disappear, the need for accessing,Observatory’s Core Unit, Thematic sharing and using evidenceModules and Local Intelligence for policy becomes ever moreNetworks have worked together as important. Like much else, thean invaluable resource for the region. future for the Observatory and its partners, plus the real and virtualOur overarching aim remains the networks that have been builtdelivery of relevant and timely up, remains uncertain. Despiteevidence to inform the development everything, as the pages that followand delivery of policy across the demonstrate, the ObservatorySouth West. As spending cuts network has continued to innovateand the restructuring of public and to develop and has neverservices start to bite across the been more active. It represents aregion, it is more important than remarkably efficient and effectiveever that change is based on sound infrastructure and resource for theinformation and analysis. region as a whole. 01
  4. 4. director’s report understanding of the region and partners as well as external speakers. its parts was a good starting point for whatever came next. The SWO The shake up of the public sector network was there to help in that since the change of government has endeavour. affected each part of the Observatory network. The regional bodies that set SWO Core Unit continued to support up SWO have all been abolished and upper tier local authorities in their many other partners have undergone duty to deliver Local Economic funding, remit and structural changes. Assessments (LEAs) through its Where it has been possible, SWO RIEP-funded project and dedicated Core Unit has attempted to plug co-ordinator. Unlike in some other gaps in intelligence, signposting and parts of the country, all South West networking left by others. upper tier local authorities had done a lot of work on their LEAs The Core Unit took over co-ordinating by the time the new government the Regional Intelligence Group removed guidance on content and from October 2010 and has worked timescale (while retaining the duty). with the Housing and Communities All the South West authorities have Agency (HCA) to produce Indices of now consulted on and finalised Multiple Deprivation profiles - both comprehensive Local Economic of which were previously done by Assessments. The degree of the Government Office Intelligence consistency in the use of jointly Team. The Core Unit has worked with procured tools, commonly agreed the HCA to continue facilitating the This reporting period has been indicators and other research made Strategic Information Providers Group, defined by change and uncertainty. available to all means that South and to redevelop the Planning Module April 2010 was a time of anticipation West LEAs can be understood in as a Housing and Planning Module. ahead of the May General Election relation to each other and will be The Module website is now up and that would determine the new policy useful in underpinning cross-local running, and there are plans for a and structural framework for the authority priorities and decisions. launch event in the autumn. public sector. Speculation that there would be a change of government SWO continued to expand its The disbanding of RDAs by the end of meant that for some time there programme of events in 2010/11. March 2012 has affected a number of had been little appetite to work on More information about the well Observatory network members. From aspects of a regional strategy that attended technical workshops for March 2011, the South West RDA’s might have no longevity. However the practitioners, policy seminars, financial contribution to the Local boards of the South West Strategic training sessions and conference can Intelligence Networks (LINs) stopped. Leaders and the South West Regional be found within this report. These The Skills and Learning Module (SLIM) Development Agency (RDA) did collectively drew on the expertise and the Core Unit continue to be agree that a shared, evidence-based and hospitality of SWO network funded for Observatory activity during02
  5. 5. director’s report2011/12. The Economy Module of Research Observatories has avoiding duplication and facilitatingcontinues to be provided by the RDA asked SWO, with its central social collaboration. Good networksEconomic Intelligence team, while enterprise model, to develop a are built on reciprocity, and SWOthere are still staff available. national network of researchers encourages you to use and contribute and analysts with local knowledge. to ours.Many Local Authorities and other Meanwhile SWO has taken on theObservatory partners have been role of regional co-ordinator forrestructuring and refocusing the Local Authority Research andresources which has affected some Intelligence Association (LARIA).intelligence functions. The Core Unit There is a synergy in thesecontinues to remain in dialogue with developments that will be exploredLocal Intelligence Network contacts over the next year. Vinita Nawatheas well as the providers of the Public Managing DirectorHealth, Culture and Environment While evidence-based policy isModules as their remits and aims for not as clear an objective of thiscontinued sub-national intelligence government as the last, initiativesnetworking become clearer. The like open data, localism and openCore Unit is also forging links with public services present manythe emerging Local Enterprise opportunities for professionalPartnerships as their boards develop analysts and researchers to buildand outline their longer term local pictures, give weight tointelligence needs. arguments, support prioritisation and evaluate outcomes. This AnnualThere is still a period of uncertainty Report highlights once again theas the local expression of national breadth of analytical expertisepolicy drivers becomes clearer. across the Observatory network.We are in a transition phase as the SWO is well placed to make use ofremoval of regional bodies has led those opportunities.individual national departmentsand agencies to start replacing or At a time when social mediarehosting lost functions piecemeal and communities of practice are- often using newly contrived (and developing as useful tools forinconsistent) geographies. SWO is virtual information-sharing and peerengaging with and offering support support, SWO demonstrates anto all of these, and is talking to Local established professional networkAuthorities outside the South West based on real relationships betweenabout objectives in common. people and organisations. The SWO network was set up to support andAs the Regional Observatories based enhance the work of its membersin RDAs disappear, the Association through sharing best practice, 03
  6. 6. observatory network The South West Observatory (SWO) Inform Gloucestershire encourages evidence-based policy making at all levels by drawing together SINE research, resources and analysis from Somerset Intelligence Network Intelligence West its network of local and thematic experts Environment across South West England. By doing this we build a comprehensive understanding of the issues affecting people living and Economy Housing and working here, look at where issues in Planning one area impact on others elsewhere, and underline some of the key challenges faced by policy makers. Plymouth Analysts’ Network Wiltshire Intelligence Network InDevon Intelligence Network Devon Core Unit Swindon Local Intelligence Network SWO is a jointly-owned intelligence resource made up, principally, of Thematic Modules, providing expertise Skills and on the Economy, the Environment, Learning Culture Housing and Planning, Skills and Learning, Public Health and Culture; and Local Intelligence Networks (LINs), Public Health which span the South West and provide a detailed local understanding about a Cornwall Local Intelligence Network Bournemouth, Dorset & Poole Local Intelligence Network range of policy issues. i-bay Torbay Intelligence Network To date, Modules and LINs have been The Core Unit organises regular events we achieve efficiencies by doing once for provided and co-ordinated by the and training for network members, co- all, joint working or joint commissioning. intelligence teams of public bodies ordinates the SWO websites and leads in the South West. These include on network publications and consultation SWO is part of a network of intelligence the South West RDA, Environment responses. networks that extends to Universities Agency, Marchmont Observatory at South West, all South West Higher Exeter University, the South West Through our networked helpdesk and Education Institutions (HEIs), the national Public Health Observatory, Homes linked websites, access to one part of the Association of Research Observatories and Communities Agency, South West SWO network gives access to a bank of (also co-ordinated by the Core Unit in Cultural Executive Board and upper tier experts and a range of resources. Through Taunton), the Local Authorities Research Local Authorities. At the centre of the our website and other communications and Intelligence Association (LARIA) South West Observatory is its Core Unit, channels, we publicise the work and and the British Urban and Regional a social enterprise (company limited by activities of all members in order to Information Systems Association guarantee), which develops and co- share expertise, good practice and (BURISA). It also draws in the wider ordinates the network to support and understanding about a range of topics. membership of the Regional Intelligence enhance the work of all SWO members. And through collaborating as a network, Group in the South West.04
  7. 7. observatory networkRegional Intelligence Group and content of the following RIG, and any UK Commission for Employment and SkillsAt the end of March 2011, SWO took technical issues affecting the intelligence to provide spatial analysis on current andover the running and co-ordination of the function that require peer support. future skills priorities and responded to aRegional Intelligence Group (RIG) which This group has explored potential joint large number of government consultations,was previously facilitated by the now purchases of data and aired concerns ARO also provided written evidence todisbanded Government Office for the about proposed changes to services like Parliamentary Select Committee inquiriesSouth West (GOSW). NOMIS. Between meetings ORG is the into Local Enterprise Partnerships and the mainstay of the SWO network as they abolition of Regional Strategies.RIG membership includes a wide range are the main contacts for each of theof data producers and analysts who constituent bodies contributing to joint However, the abolition of the Regionalshare a common interest in improving consultations and responding to requests Development Agencies has meanttheir effectiveness in the collection, for information from the network. For all that over the reporting period ARO lostanalysis and use of data. Over and above information about ORG meetings please members as RDA-employed staff leftthe SWO network of Thematic Modules see www.swo.org.uk/org and functions were wound down orand LINs, RIG memberships extends, transferred elsewhere. The remainingamongst others, to Business Link, The Association of Research ARO members asked SWO, as a companyCareers South West, Citizens Advice, Observatories (ARO) limited by guarantee with some chance ofSERIO, the Young People’s Learning SWO took over co-ordination of ARO in continuity, to develop a national researchAgency and The Big Lottery Fund. Topics January 2010, with a full time co-ordinator and intelligence network that continued tothat have been discussed over the past based within the SWO Core Unit team promote evidence-based policy and could12 months have focused on post-election from April. SWO’s Managing Director draw on local knowledge. Though stilldevelopments and the analysis of policy took over as ARO Chair in October 2010. embryonic, the conditions for a knowledgechanges, including briefings on the and intelligence network are being scoped.impact of the Comprehensive Spending The change of government raised issues www.researchobservatories.org.ukReview. Members have heard updates and challenges for ARO during 2010-from the ONS, an evaluation of the 11. We worked hard to promote the Local Authorities Research andRDA’s work and also been briefed on expertise and outputs of Observatories Intelligence Association (LARIA)various GIS tools available, including one across the country, and position them South West Liaisonto map Functional Economic Markets to support new government initiatives In 2011 the SWO Core Unit became thecommissioned jointly by SWO. RIG and embrace opportunities for future South West contact point for LARIA,meetings take place quarterly in Taunton. development. ARO continued to advocate enabling the intelligence community inTo find out more see www.swo.org.uk/rig for research and intelligence at a local, the region to be kept abreast of LARIA’s national and sub-national level and work and services and vice versa. LARIA’sOperations and Research Group (ORG) maintained good relationships with remit is to promote the role and practice ofThe Operations and Research Group government departments, partners research within the local government and(ORG) of the Observatory brings and stakeholders. During 2010-11, ARO to provide a supportive network for thosetogether lead practioners from the ‘close’ focused on making the case for research conducting or commissioning research.SWO family of Modules and LINs. Since and intelligence as a necessary function We hope this new role will be mutuallySWO took over RIG, it was decided that within the new political and financial beneficial and will help to enhance andORG should focus on planning theme climate. The Association worked with the extend our networks. 05
  8. 8. events In 2010-11, SWO organised a range projections going forward. Attendees and alternative measures. This was for of events and training sessions to heard from Keith Woodhead (formerly a non-expert audience but also looked disseminate some of our work and at South West Councils) who provided a in detail at the South West Regional findings and to support members guide to national population projections Accounts and considered questions working on specific issues and topics. and explored the merits and policy around the rationale for intervening in an Our events are open to network considerations for projections at a more economy faced with market failure. members and a wider community of local level. Case studies were also those interested in research, analysis provided by Gloucestershire County To view presentations from Economics and policy making. Council and Bournemouth, Dorset and Demystified and to download the Poole, which looked at calculating local follow-up Economy Terminology briefing Back in July 2010, hosted by the population projections in partnership. compiled see www.swo.org.uk/ Somerset Local Intelligence Network events/2010-11/economics-demystified (SINe), the 10 Dimensions of Equality To view presentations from Population event looked at the possibility of a Projections and to download follow- By November more detail was emerging standard set of indicators under each up resources see www.swo.org.uk/ about proposed changes to structure in of the Equality and Human Rights events/2010-11/population-projections the NHS, so a third event - Public Health Commission’s 10 Dimensions of Equality. Information and Evidence - hosted The event provided a useful starting Exeter was the venue for October’s in Bristol and led by the Public Health point, identifying a definite interest over-subscribed Economics Demystified Observatory was very timely. Delegates across the region in a standard set of events in which the Economy Module at this event heard from Paul Brown measures, whilst acknowledging the team explored the rudiments to (Deputy Director at SWPHO) on ‘what difficulties with availability of data broken economics, the characteristics of and is public health intelligence?’ and were down by equality strand. SINe has since challenges to the South West economy, briefed on key data sources for public moved forward with this work. They have and measuring performance using GVA health by both local and regional analysts. devised 5 themes, and 13 measures, An interactive workshop rounded off the which aim to capture difference in event, which gave delegates tools to help outcome by all equality strands. understand public health intelligence to aid decision making. In early September 2010, SWO hosted a small technical workshop on To access all presentations from this Understanding Local Population event and to download resources, Projections to bring together people including Primary Care data, see www. interested in and working on the subject swo.org.uk/events/2010-11/public-health- and to provide an overview of nationally information-evidence and locally available projections. This event gave those attending the chance Responding to much interest in the topic, to compare methodologies used in in late November SWO organised a large the South West for calculating local scale masterclass-style event on Data projections and looked at some of the Presentation and Visualisation. Hosted policy implications about population at Brunel’s Old Station, Bristol, this06
  9. 9. eventsevent covered the fundamentals of datacommunications, hints and tips on someof the most innovative and effectivemethods as well as some of the pitfallsto avoid. Those attending heard from theONS’s head of Data Visualisation AlanSmith, who spoke on the effective useof graphics and gave practical tips onhow best to display different types ofdata. Local practioners in Plymouth andin Cornwall spoke about the successof data visualisations for projects inboth areas and attendees also heardfrom data journalist Simon Rogers whohas pioneered the Guardian’s DataBlogand DataStore. During his session,Simon gave examples of some of the patterns of domestic violence, and from from expert speakers on the passagemore popular Guardian visualisations, DEFRA’s Centre of Expertise looking of legislation, from departmental levelincluding ones on Government Spending at how to influence behaviour using through to adoption in Parliament,and MPs’ expenses, and explored how evidence. and ways and means to feed into thedata visualisation can help build a story legislative process. Speakers includedrich with information. To access all presentations from the Baroness Jean Corston, former Labour day see www.swo.org.uk/events/2010- MP for Bristol East and current memberTo access all presentations from this 11/customer-insight-behaviour-change of the House of Lords, who spoke onMasterclass and to download a SWO engaging with Parliamentarians.Data Visualisation briefing pack, see By the beginning of the year, thewww.swo.org.uk/events/2010-11/data- Government Office for the South For all presentations, together withpresentation-visualisation West was in the process of wind a follow-up briefing note with hints down towards its closure at the end of and tips to engage with legislation,In February, SWO went to Trowbridge March. With this in mind, and in view see www.swo.org.uk/events/2010-for an event hosted by Wiltshire Council of the Government’s Localism agenda 11/understanding-influencing-the-on Customer Insight and Behaviour and the onus it places on individuals legislative-processChange. With presentations from at a local level to get involved inExperian UK, the event looked at some decision making, SWO organised In early April 2011, SWO organised twoof the latest developments in Customer an event on Understanding and Quantitative Data day workshops,Insight, including ‘Total Insight’ and Influencing the Legislative Process run with the University of Plymouth,ways and means to target specific in conjunction with the House of offering targeted training for thosegroups. There were also presentations Commons’ Parliamentary Outreach working with statistics. For informationfrom Devon and Cornwall Police on team. Delegates came from all over the about LEA events and future eventsusing customer insight to understand South West and further afield to learn see p14 and p31. 07
  10. 10. eighth annual conference The Role of Evidence in Policy and Decision Making: Luxury or Necessity? In the current climate of spending cuts and widespread reform of public services, the role of evidence in informing commissioning, investment or disinvestment decisions, monitoring and evaluating outcomes should be increasingly important. But while much is made of the open data revolution, how do we make sense of it all when national bodies like ONS consider shrinking their outputs and sample sizes and initiatives like data.gov bombard us with reams of unanalysed information? How can, or to underline the current context for a ‘Evidence and Policy Making: Where are should, evidence-based decision making debate around evidence-based policy we Now?’ questioned whether we had be embedded and how can post code making. Under proposals outlined evidence-based policy making in the UK, lotteries be avoided? (currently being consulted upon - time whether this was changing currently, and of writing), the role of evidence and what factors must be addressed when That was the context for speakers and consultation as a ‘duty to involve’ would promoting its use. delegates at this year’s SWO Annual be removed, replaced instead with a Conference, which took place in May Annette highlighted some of the duty to look at ‘best value’. She looked 2011 at Somerset County Cricket Club, contradictions heard from politicians, at the implications of the Localism Bill Taunton and addressed some of the who on the one hand advocate evidence- for Local Authorities and unpicked some challenges and opportunities posed by of the new responsibilities placed on based policy making yet on the other recent changes at all levels. planning applicants to demonstrate howdisparage ’inconvenient’ evidence- based research. But she also stressed consultation has been taken into account Those attending heard first from Janice before submitting applications. Janicehow promoting the use of evidence in Morphet (Visiting Professor, Bartlett policy making requires more than just went on to explore how evidence is used School of Planning, University College research. This looked at how evidence in planning and why it is critical, before London; Planning Committee London and argument are central to all stages of looking at delivery options, highlighting 2012 Olympic Games; Senior Advisor LEPs, possible funding sources and the policy process, how communication Local Government Modernisation and some of the key challenges faced at a to different audiences is key and how e-Government, DCLG; former Local local level in the years ahead. analysis might in certain cases need to Authority Chief Executive) who spoke on be taken further in suggesting possible evidence in Planning and Delivery. Dr Annette Boaz is a lecturer in solutions to policy makers. This was an translational research at King’s College issue raised in a subsequent Question Janice opened by highlighting proposed London and was formerly a senior and Answer session as problematic for changes to the 2007 Local Government research fellow in the UK Centre for researchers where they are charged with and Public Involvement in Health Act Evidence and Policy. Her presentation on evaluating outcomes.08
  11. 11. eighth annual conferenceThe Consultation and Research team some of the principles and criteria behind Insight, Understanding and Influencingat Bristol City Council has been active linked - open data and demonstrating Citizens and tips on how to developin developing innovative new forms how common standards can improve research that will make a difference. Heof e-consultation and crowd-sourcing partnership working and achieve efficiency highlighted how effective communicationsusing online technologies and social savings by enabling data to be acquired can be key when developing and deliveringmedia. Under the section highlighting and shared more easily and efficiently. research and how engaging colleaguesinteresting work by local practioners, within an organisation and segmentingdelegates heard from Anna McDermott Delegates then heard from Phil Norrey customers can help deliver better servicesand Phil Higgins on developments on the challenges he faces as Chief or change behaviour of customers.over the past 10 years in Bristol to Executive of Devon County Council andincrease engagement with policy, in the importance he places on evidence to Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director atparticular among otherwise hard-to- determine policy interventions. Phil spoke the Greater London Authority, closed thereach groups. Looking at some of their about the importance of collaboration Conference offering up his experiencesrecent crowd-sourcing to gauge opinion, between local authorities and how, with from London in Beyond Beautifulobtain ideas and stimulate discussion current changes in place, he is determined Evidence, a presentation which drewamong communities, this looked at how to support a research function across local together ideas from all parts of the day.involving new people in consultations areas to help provide comparisons and to Using examples from London of datacan bring fresh thinking on problems. share in resources and services. visualisation and mapping, Andrew lookedThey also explored how using interactivemaps can make consultation an engagingexperience and showed how spatialpatterns can quickly emerge.Paul Brown from the South West PublicHealth Observatory spoke about some ofthe lessons from Public Health research,out of which evidence-based policymaking first emerged. Paul looked at theenvironmental factors affecting publichealth and gave examples of research Laura Grady, Principal Planner from at a range of new ways of making sensethat has changed policy - from Florence the West of England Partnership, spoke out of data. Highlighting some recentNightingale on sanitation to research into about evidence for Local Enterprise examples, in particular crowd-sourcing,smoking and cancer in the 1950s. Partnerships and in doing so looked augmented reality applications and mobile at what makes evidence, what LEPs technologies, he spoke about some of thePaul Davidson, Chief Information are seeking to achieve, how to deliver opportunities to make evidence useful notOfficer at Sedgemoor District Council sustainable economic growth and the just to the policy makers but to consumersand Director of Standards at the Local kind of challenges faced in a changing and clients too.e-Government Standards Body (LeGSB), political landscape.framed his presentation around ‘open To access all presentations seedata, open opportunities?’, drawing out Pete Thompson looked at Customer www.swo.org.uk/events/conference-2011 09
  12. 12. publications and briefings State of the South West 2011 Briefings With work to collect and analyse Over the past 12 months, SWO has information starting in late autumn developed a suite of briefing notes 2010, an updated annual State of on emerging policy, subject-specific the South West was launched on analyses and technical guides. These Wednesday 16 March 2011 thanks have been compiled principally to help to the hard work and dedication of members of the SWO network with authors within the SWO network. their work, but are all publically available This year’s online update, enhanced to help share information and expertise with new web features to improve with our wider network. usability, enables visitors to the SWO site to browse relevant sections of A range of policy briefings, covering the report, bookmarking and printing topics including Local Enterprise as required. Each chapter is also Partnerships, the Localism Bill, the available to download as a PDF for Single Data List, Open Data and easy printing. Housing and Planning, unpick the main messages from legislative and regulatory Overall, the report observed that changes. Further to the withdrawal residents of the South West continue of the ONS Regional Presence in the to fare relatively well; being likely to South West, on subject specific topics live longer and enjoy a better quality SWO analysed and gave local context of life than most of the rest of the to national datasets, including one on UK. There are signs of economic life expectancy. The Economy Module recovery in the region, but future The State of the South West 2011 has has lead on economic data alerts, growth looks likely to be constrained been one of the most popular areas previously analysed by the ONS Regional by a combination of public-private of the website, with over 1000 page Presence. Our range of technical papers sector rebalancing, reduced views since its launch, a number of include top tips on data visualisation household spending and fragile downloads for individual PDF chapters and understanding and influencing the business confidence. Elsewhere, and a notable surge in page views to legislative process, which attempt to the public health chapter reported the site generally around the time of cement some of key messages from a 3% drop in adults smoking in the its launch. SWO events over the past year. area, with a 5% drop in smoking among women. The Governmental The update was widely reported in the To download SWO briefings from and Political Context chapter explains regional media, including extensive the past year, see www.swo.org.uk/ the significant changes which have coverage in the Western Morning resources/briefing-notes occurred since March 2010, including News as well as features on local radio the May General Election results and and via online blogs. For publications from other parts of the subsequent changes to the political SWO network see individual Thematic landscape, in particular to regional www.swo.org.uk/state-of-the-south- Module and Local Intelligence Network structures. west-2011 p18-29.10
  13. 13. local profilesLocal Profiles compiled by the SWO Local Employment and Cultural Place ProfilesCore Unit, Thematic Modules, Local Skills Board Reports (Culture Module) give a ‘snapshot inIntelligence Networks and outside (Skills and Learning Module) time’ of a particular place in the Southagencies provide in-depth local context provide an evidence base for Local West with a compilation of general andabout a specific issue or range of issues. Employment and Skills Boards. These culture-specific information. reports provide detailed analysisOver the past year, SWO has worked of economic context, skills and Area Specificwith partners to bring together local workforce. Local Intelligence Networks (LINs)profiles about areas in the South West compile regular Local Profiles aboutonto its website for a wider audience. Local Environmental Profiles their area. For a range of Local ProfilesSWO has also started work to update (Environment Module) from LINs - from Bournemouth‘Statistical Briefs’ (formerly compiled comprise collated environmental Ward Profiles, Bristol Data Profiles,by the Government Office) for each data at district council level in order Devon Town Profiles, Dorset Areaupper tier area, to profile the Indices of to try and produce mini ‘State of the Profiles, Cornwall Community andMultiple Deprivation (IMD) 2010 data Environment’ reports for each area in Neighbourhood Profiles to Plymouthfor all districts and is supporting the the South West. Neighbourhood Profiles and SomersetEnvironment Module (Environment Quilt and Local Profiles - see theAgency) as it updates the popular Local Health Profiles SWO website.Environment Profiles covering all (Public Health Observatories)County, Unitary and District levels in provide a snapshot of public health For links to all Local Profiles, includingthe South West. for each area in England using key external ones on Labour Market from health indicators, which enable NOMIS and Local Profiles from theGeneral comparison locally, regionally and over ONS see www.swo.org.uk/local-profilesLocal Statistical Briefs time. They are designed to help local(SWO, formerly GOSW) are detailed councils and the NHS decide wherereports drawing in a range of to target resources and tackle healthdata about upper tier areas in the inequalities in their local area.South West. These briefings offerinformation on demographics, crime, Indices of Multiple Deprivationthe local economy, employment and Profiles (SWO/HCA, formerly GOSW)unemployment, education and skills, are statistical studies of deprivationhousing, planning, the environment and across South West upper tier localtransport. authorities. The IMD, published periodically by DCLG, is made upTopic Specific Profiles of seven distinct dimensions ofSub-Regional Economic Indicators deprivation called ‘Domain Indices’(Economy Module) offer a compilation looking at income, employment,of the latest headline economic health and disability, education, skillsinformation for different upper-tier and training, barriers to housing andareas across the South West. services, living environment and crime. 11
  14. 14. consultations Since the change in Government in May 2010 and subsequent proposed changes to service delivery across many areas, SWO has taken the opportunity to respond to a range of national consultations with the potential to impact on the work of our members. Consultation responses are generally co- ordinated by the SWO Core Unit, with significant input and case studies provided by Thematic Modules and Local Intelligence Networks. Responses to national consultations this year have included ones to the ONS Work Programme and User Engagement Strategy, DCLG’s Business Plan and Indicators for 2011/12, plus ones to more specific SWO has also compiled responses For all consultation responses please proposals, such as those for a to the ONS Web Dissemination refer to the relevant section of the national wellbeing or ‘happiness’ Proposal Strategy, which suggests SWO website: www.swo.org.uk/ index. replacing existing national data resources/consultations systems such as Neighbourhood In all responses, we have tried Statistics (NESS) and NOMIS with to highlight some of the practical a single web portal, and recently issues faced by those working in responded to the DCLG Statistics research and analysis, in particular Plan for 2011/12. at a local level. We have also tried to identify gaps apparent in sub national intelligence and the potential consequences this might pose for those relying on up-to-date and accurate information about a variety of issues over different localities.12
  15. 15. commissionsSWO Core Unit and some other Functional Economic Marketparts of the Observatory can be Areas: Somerset Analysiscommissioned to undertake small In August 2010, the Core Unit wasor large scale research or analysis. commissioned by Somerset CountyProject teams can be pulled together Council to produce a report onfrom a range of Observatory Functional Economic Market Areasassociated expertise, while small- (FEMAs) in relation to Somerset.scale flexible analytical support is This report relied on SEAT, a GISalso available. Examples of small- based mapping tool with relevantscale projects include: publically available layers of data. SEAT was developed as part of work into FEMAs in the South WestTewkesbury Borough Profile undertaken by SQW Consulting (for To discuss local community profiling orIn January 2011, the Core Unit more on this see p14). other analysis needs, please contactgenerated a local profile for enquiries@swo.org.uk or phone theTewkesbury Borough Council, as The report included 28 maps Core Unit on 01823 447395.an example of sub-regional analysis showing various datasets withthat is possible using the Spatial a Somerset focus. Our analysisEconomic Analysis Tool (SEAT) and included highlighting some of theother data sources. general trends in the data shown, such as an urban/rural divide.Tewkesbury was selected following It also described some possiblea request from Gloucestershire trends relevant to Somerset,County Council to provide material focusing down to Lower Superthat could inform their LEA and Output Area level where the dataincrease the information available allowed.at a sub-county level. The report was well receivedThe 20 page profile analysed and was used in producingfacts and figures on politics, the Somerset Local Economicdemographics, the economy, Assessment (LEA).education and housing inTewkesbury, including graphs andmaps to show key datasets asclearly as possible. 13
  16. 16. local economic development Over the past year there have been a number of significant changes to local economic development which have impacted on local partners throughout the South West. Working to support Local Authorities, share best practice and achieve efficiencies, SWO has built on its two year Local Economic Assessments (LEA) project by broadening its local economic evidence work to encompass, for example, emerging Local Enterprise Partnerships and Regional Growth Fund bids. Local Economic Assessments (LEAs): Developing a consistent approach SWO led a two-year project funded by the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (RIEP) to develop a consistent approach to evidence for LEAs. This ran from July 2009 until the end of June 2011. In November 2008, the Observatory addressing local authority capacity and with teams working on the duty in each hosted an event to consider the merits skills constraints; sharing best practice Local Authority were quickly established of a joined up approach to the duty and and enabling joint commissioning. and a dedicated LEA section of the SWO the outcome was resoundingly positive. website was launched. A questionnaire Participants, including all strategic Following this event, the RIEP agreed to was also sent out to Local Authorities authorities, regional organisations fund a co-ordinator post at the SWO Core working on the duty, which helped to and DCLG, outlined what work was Unit to help support Local Authorities identify Local Authority LEA areas of required. They asked the Observatory in their work on LEAs and to work with concern and was used to refine the work to take the lead role in supporting Local them to lay the foundations of the programme. Authorities in developing consistency evidence base. Their work was steered in their approach to the evidence by a multiagency group with strong In November 2009, local authorities and requirements. They identified the utility Local Authority representation, balancing regional bodies met for an LEA event to of consistent and comparable economic consistency of approach across the work towards some consensus on the assessment data and methodology region with the need for local flexibility. themes in common to Local Authorities across the region; more collaborative across South West Local Economic working to save costs; increased Key Achievements Assessments. The aim of the event was to communications and networking; With a co-ordinator in place, contacts agree where and how those themes could14
  17. 17. local economic developmentbe addressed consistently without being In June 2010, the jointly-commissioned comprehensive LEA would be useful toprescriptive. The event also brought GIS product - the Spatial Economic underpin any future strategies.up the idea of ‘key questions’ that an and Analysis Tool ‘SEAT’ - was Over this time the established networkLEA might seek to answer and helped launched to support upper tier Local was expanded and information onidentify a set of Core Indicators to allow Authorities in the South West and emerging local economic developmentcomparison between areas. These were others working on the duty. The final issues fed through to contacts, savingdeveloped by a multidisciplinary group product contained over 100 datasets time and reducing duplication. The LEAand were provided for each upper tier which could be mapped and over- section of the SWO website was alsoLocal Authority by the SWO Core Unit as layed to identify locations functional expanded to include a section on Localdownloadable datapacks in April 2010. economic market area. Economic Development, LEPs and the RGF This remains one of the most .Guidance at the time from DCLG A second event, organised by SWO popular areas of the site. To improveindicated that geographies covered also in June, showcased work on LEAs communications, a Twitter account waswithin the LEAs “should, as far from the South West to a national set up which focused on economicas possible, match real economic audience with examples of best development, and information wasgeographies or functional economic practice. For presentations and a short fed into to a number of Community ofmarket areas” To assist with this the . video from this event see www.swo. Practice (CoP) and LinkedIn Groups,SWO Core Unit led and managed a joint org.uk/local-economic-development/ including the Regional Growth Fund CoP ,commission on behalf of a partnership of local-economic-assessments/events established by SWO.Upper Tier Local Authorities, the SouthWest RDA, South West Councils and the Local Economic Assessments Throughout the second part of 2010-SWO network, to produce an interactive & emerging Local Enterprise 11, the LEA Evidence Co-ordinatormapping tool and report with multivariate Partnerships (LEPs) and the was active in consolidating LEP andanalysis in order to better understand Regional Growth Fund (RGF) RGF resources for use by all interestedFunctional Economic Market Areas By autumn 2010, and responding to parties in the South West and nationally.(FEMA) across the region. the change in direction over economic Before LEP bids had been submitted, development brought about by a the LEP pages on the SWO website change in government, the steering consistently ranked highly in web group agreed to expand the work of searches on the term and the LEA the evidence co-ordination role to Evidence Co-ordinator was invited cover emerging policy areas including to participate at a range of national Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) LEP events. In addition, in December, and the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). SWO hosted a Local Government and However, with much work having taken Information Unit (LGiU) LEP event on place in year one of the project, most Economic Development in Taunton. South West Local Authorities continued with their LEAs, working towards the To download the full project report previous government deadline of 31 Developing a Consistent Approach to March 2011. South West upper tier Economic Assessments see www.swo. Authorities recognised early on that a org.uk/local-economic-development 15
  18. 18. communications Over the past year SWO has worked to Wiltshire share its work and findings with improve and expand its online and offline a wider audience and helped Wiltshire communications to increase the reach Council to save money. Since its launch, and audience for our publications and www.intellingenetwork.org.uk, has been reports. With our website, use of social very well received and heavily accessed. media, quarterly newsletter, regular e-updates and press releases for print Also in summer 2010, SWO launched and broadcast media we aim to keep another small microsite publichealth. those interested in our work up-to-date swo.org.uk to act as a bridge between on what’s new at the SWO Core Unit the main South West Public Health and among the SWO network. number of sections on site, adding Observatory site www.swpho.nhs.uk our consultation responses, briefing and SWO sites. This site enables visitors Website and New Sites notes and local profiles, and improving to search across the SWO network The SWO website www.swo.org.uk navigation for other areas. Throughout for information and, with design and continues to be the main shop window 2010/11, the most popular areas of navigation the same as that of other SWO through which our audience access our the site included the Local Enterprise sites, we hope it will help disseminate work and services. Throughout 2010-11 Partnership section, SWO Events more of SWO’s work to the Public Health we continued to build on and improve and Publications. Page views on audience and vice versa. our web presence, taking advantage the site peaked on 16 March 2011, of new technologies available and coinciding with the launch of the State Working with the Homes and expanding our online reach to reach a of the South West 2011. There were Communities Agency (HCA) in autumn / wider audience. At least 100 people a a number of popular downloads from winter, SWO was able to relaunch a new day now access the main website and the site throughout this time, including Housing and Planning Module at the start visits to our site are up by around 20% individual chapters for the State of the of the year, taking the place the previous on the previous year (2009/10). South West, a briefing pack on data Planning Module which had been provided visualisation techniques as well as by South West Councils. For more on this Back in late spring 2010, and responding statistical briefings for local areas. The see p20. to a changing political landscape, most popular download was the Impact we developed a Local Enterprise of Public Sector Spending Cuts report, With help from the SWO network, the Partnerships (LEPs) section of the site, compiled by the Economy Module with Core Unit also developed an interactive, which drew together information about SWO network support, and downloaded flash network map, now embedded on LEPs for those working on proposals. over 1000 times via the SWO sites using the SWO website, to help visualise the This quickly became one of the most the combined Content Management different areas of the network and their popular areas on the site with visits from System (CMS). areas of expertise. This can be viewed via far and wide. Before LEPs were formally the SWO home page. agreed, SWO ranked in the top three In early July 2010, Wiltshire’s Local search results on the term via Google Intelligence Network joined others SWO continues to organise a biannual and other search engines. already using SWO’s CMS, adopting one workshop to share ideas and best practice of the easy-to-edit microsites available. on web development between our We also refreshed and developed a This has helped the research team in network.16
  19. 19. communicationsSocial Media In the NewsSWO’s Twitter following (@ SW The heavily accessed ‘Impact of Public SOUTH WEST OBSERVATORYswobservatory) saw a rise over Sector Spending Cuts’ report, compiled2010-11. At the time of going to press BAROMETER2008/09 NEWSLETTER Winter 2010/11 - Network Publications Review by the Economy Module with inputover 460 people now follow SWO As the year The South West Barometer is produced twice a year end, this edition of our regular newsletter comes to an provides a collaborative documentnetwork to highlight its best research activity over the last year. and is an opportunity for the of the South West from the SWO network, dominated the In this newsletter we bring intended for anyone involved Observatory network. It is together the top three significant publications from each of thetweets, which we use to announce with policy development and decision making at the thematic Modules, together with key points from the Local Intelligence Networks. Links to a fuller regional or sub-regional level. The Barometer monitors network research and publications list can be found on our website www.swo.org.uk/publications/ headlines in autumn-winter 2010 with the region’s progress towards a broad selection ofnew additions to the website and to publications-monitor. Also in this edition, there are a couple of seasonal quiz questions and a ‘guess economic, social and environmental policy objectives. It how manyhow, or whether, the South West formoving who haven’t indulged too heavily in the egg nog! looks at pickles in the jar’ competition is those people keen to find out more about the against 20 indicators across these three themes.promote events, as well as to capture We hope that you find it useful and informative. If you have any feedback or suggestions for future editions, please do get in touch with Sarah Hardwick, the Editor. Don’t forget you can still access The focus for this edition is on those effect of the Comprehensive Spending information on events and network updates from the main SWO site. If you have any queries,important announcements from please don’t hesitate to feel need at enquiries@swo.org.uk. With best wishes for a very happy indicators that we contact us highlighting, Christmas and inpeaceful 2011 current economic Sarah Hardwick, Editor especially a light of the from the Core Unit. Review (CSR) in their local areas. Theoutside organisations and think tanks. climate in the South West. Particular attention has been given to two of the The network is currently assist Local Authorities report suggested that the reduction in economic indicators around housing andidentify SWO CORE UNITThis year we also tweeted ‘live’ at two government spending could result in KEY PUBLICATIONS working on the 2011 online and others to employment. You will find thesetheir functional economic update, due for launch indicators Title: State of the in March 2011. Last year South West 2010 the centre of the market areas (FEMAs). and others in thereport again showed document users to The tool enablesSWO events, using Twitter to extend Date: Marcha more in-depth are the fastest identify economic, social with 2010 Link: http://www.swo. us that we commentary on the growing region with a big and environmental activity org.uk/sotsw2010-online proportion headline statistics. issues behind these of that growth occurring within and across the loss of 116,000 jobs with the publicthe scope of the events and enabling sector hardest hit and was picked up by coming from people administrative boundaries. attracted to the South The choice of indicators is based on on sound evidence. Itaround 100 It includes is the wide consultation and West from other parts of datasets (all publicly is regularly Observatory’s aim to be the reviewed; specifically, thelight of Theautomatic first port with the exception in country. region available of call for Title: Conference Essays and how to bring it about.delegates to continue their discussions Local and Multi Area Agreements economically of Retail CatchmentWest performs well outside the intelligence about the South data using the National Indicator set, to most regions its parts, with any one compared region and - procured as part of the the Observatory is planning to greaterour constituent bodies can be of South project). Layers being Date: September 2010 Link: http://www.swo.org. uk/publications/health- This collection of essays from the day’s broad range the BBC, local radio, regional and localonline. press. revisit this suite of indicators inscoresa portal to all of our network of users East and particularly switched on and off so wealth-happiness of speakers, including well on measures of Jonathon Porritt, Matthew early 2009 to ensure we are using experts andcan easily observe spatial resources. the most useful and contemporary include well-being which patterns. A report is also Summary Taylor and Dame Suzi information available. environmental and social you find the Barometer We hope available including worked What do we envisage Leather, provides a good factors. starting point to inform informative and easy andaccess. examples to multivariate when we wish each other a Summary current thinking about Along with all the statistics We welcome any comments by the analysis carried out prosperous New Year? How Updated annually online, Title: SEAT-SW the role of the citizen and and commentary are links to regarding ways in which itresponse consultants. In can can we make it happen the State of the South the Observatory’s network Economic improved. If you would like to (Spatial to FEMAs being identified here and now? The South the state in articulatingWe also filmed various events, Other SWO news items from 2010- of be West report draws Analysis mapping Tool) and achieving a common experts giving you access to comment on any important element of as an aspect of this West Observatory’s 7th together inputs from Date: aspiration. Essays include more in-depth analysis. June 2010 edition of the Barometer, please the the LEA evidence base, Annual Conference brought the wider Observatory Link: http://www.swo.org. tool was commissioned by together a broad range consideration of wellbeing e-mail enquiries@swo.org.ukincluding the LEA Best Practice one 11 have included TV interviews with network to provide a uk/seat-sw upper-tier Local Authorities of expertise to consider measures, the importance The network is working towards comprehensive account of economic growth and a common vision; that policy The South Westthe South West and in Observatory Network how distinct notions of of the characteristics of the role of civil society. making in, and about,Summarythe South December 2008 coordinated by SWO - prosperity are correlated, the region and its parts West region should be based is a Geographic SEAT-SW although the range of uses how to articulate and A timely and topicalfrom June 2010 which was made - including analysis of Information System (GIS) sub-regional geographies. mapping tool designed to for SEAT go beyond LEAs and FEMAs alone. measure a common understanding of prosperity, contribution to current debate. 01 the BBC Politics Show on a wellbeing Winter Newsletter 2010/11available through YouTube and also www.swo.org.uk index (linked to the SWO Essay Bookletembedded on the SWO website. We ‘Health, Wealth and Happiness’), radiocontinue to make presentations from 2010 edition to provide a summary interviews and press coverage onall events available online using social of research and activities from our life expectancy briefing as well asmedia sites such as Author Stream throughout the year. extensive coverage for the State of theand SlideShare and embed interactive South West launch.slides directly on our site. A number of Every month, SWO compiles anthese presentations have been viewed e-update providing links to new SWO issued press releases to local andover 100 times. resources and publications available regional journalists relating to our life online, as well as flagging up expectancy briefing, wellbeing reportThe Core Unit also ran two social upcoming events. Our mailing list is and State of the South West launch.media workshops for web editors and made up of nearly 300 individuals withfor marketing colleagues from South a diverse range of interests and from Other areas of the network, inWest organisations throughout 2010/11. across the South West and further particular the Economy Module and afield. Public Health Observatory, haveNewsletter and Updates also been prominent in the news,The quarterly newsletter, highlighting If you would like to receive regular highlighting their own reports andlatest research, publications and events e-updates from the South West findings.from across the SWO network, has Observatory, and our quarterlycontinued to be edited by the SWO newsletter, sign up via For all SWO news releases seeCore Unit team. We used the Winter www.swo.org.uk/sign-up www.swo.org.uk/news 17
  20. 20. www.swo.org.uk/economy In times of great economic uncertainty, recession and subsequent recovery, regional-accounts is a key economic it has been imperative that accurate the Spatial Review economy.swo.org. analysis tool provided by the RDA and timely economic evidence uk/publications/spatial-review which through the Economy Module. These and analysis has been available to identified and assessed the differences Accounts have been compiled annually to businesses and policy-makers alike. The and similarities across the region’s bring together information on all aspects landscape of economic development, geographic parts, and last year’s of the region’s economy in a single, in terms of geographies and Labour Market Review economy. consistent and integrated resource. In institutions, has also shifted, creating swo.org.uk/publications/labour-market- spring 2011, the latest annual update new demands for evidence to support review. The Economy Module has also release included a structural model of the new perspectives. The Economy continued to provide a shop window South West economy for 2008 and time Module, provided by the South West for the wider work of the RDA’s series data from 1998 to 2009. Work RDA’s Economics and Evidence team, Economics and Evidence team. This has continued on the development of has continued to meet these needs has included the Agency’s Economics the Accounts, including further industrial through its comprehensive economic Review, the monthly Economics detail and export analysis. The Accounts intelligence service for the region and Monitor along with a host of up-to-the- are available for use online via the its diverse parts. minute data and policy briefings, such Economy Module website and through as our Data Alerts. the downloadable ECONi software. The Module’s wide-ranging publications are the principal means As well as understanding economic Preparation for the (short-lived) Single of disseminating analysis and change as it happens, all those Regional Strategies provided a perfect intelligence. This past year saw the involved in economic development opportunity for collaborative working introduction of a new format for the need to have an eye to the future. across the region’s evidence community. core in-depth publications with a set This year the Economy Module The RDA, through the Economy Module, of thematic ‘reviews’ replacing the team released bi-annual economic joined partners to commission the Economic Profile series. The series projections (data and commentary) SEAT spatial analysis tools and the now consists of the Business Review for the region, covering both sector South West Growth Scenarios as economy.swo.org.uk/publications/ and sub-regional prospects through to well as helping to manage the Local business-review which focused on the 2030. In addition, with RDA funding, Economic Assessment evidence co- they ran a number of important ordinator project. regional economic simulations considering post-recession futures, English RDAs are being abolished and including: Rebalancing the Economy, will all have closed their doors by the Fiscal Tightening and The Squeeze 31 March 2012. It is unclear what will on Household Finances. Their work happen to the South West Observatory on the impact of public sector job as a whole beyond this but, for now, the losses across South West England was Economics and Evidence team at the particularly well-read and received. RDA continues to offer an economics service to South West partners through The South West Regional Accounts the Economy Module and other avenues economy.swo.org.uk/south-west- of support.18
  21. 21. www.swenvo.org.uk environmentThe Environment Module, hosted bythe Environment Agency in Exeter,continues to provide up-to-date andaccurate environmental information forpartners across the South West.This year the Environment Module Image supplied by the Environment Agencyfurther developed the SWENVO websitewith new pages and new interactivetools now available. The environmentalthemes section of the site has beenextended with information on waste,including waste arisings and wastemanagement. The marine theme alsonow has a new page on beach litter.For more on this see www.swenvo.org.uk/themesLast spring saw the completion of theEnvironment Module’s Local Profiles; using Google Maps to capture waterbody is (a defined body of watersummaries of key environmental environmental initiatives, events and with its own unique number, e.g. atopics available at unitary and district projects across Devon and Cornwall. specific stretch of river, a lake etc.),level across the South West. Each The pilot provides a way to share best future proposals for improvementsprofile helps to identify key pressures practice across the area and can be and a link to a discussion forum. Thison air, water and land, on people and viewed at www.swenvo.org.uk/earth- feature will also invite organisationscommunities and on businesses whilst chattering and groups to add their own projectsalso looking at the impact of climate that work to improve the environmentchange on all parts of the South West. This year, layers have been added at various locations, providing aThe Environmental Local Profiles to the map relating to the Water comprehensive spatial view ofprovide key facts, graphs, charts, maps Framework Directive. Under this planned improvements to the waterand raw data, all of which are also Directive, River Basin Management environment in the South West.available to download and reuse. An Plans have been drawn up forinteractive Google map, mapping each river basin districts across England In addition this year the EnvironmentLocal Profile, helps visitors navigate to and Wales to protect and improve Module took part in the review andthe relevant local profile. For more on the water environment. These update of the Environment andthis see www.swenvo.org.uk/south- contain the main issues for the Natural Resources chapter within thewest-local-profiles water environment and the actions State of the South West 2011 report. required to deal with them. This new This chapter brings together key issuesLast year the Environment Module interactive layer will allow the user to and the latest environmental trendslaunched a pilot interactive tool see what the current condition of a for the region. 19

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