The Community Needs Index, which measures the social and cultural factors that can contribute to poorer life outcomes, is now available to subscribers on Community Insight.
The Community Needs Index (CNI), the first composite indicator of its kind that looks at the social and cultural factors in areas across England that can contribute to poorer life outcomes, is now available on Community Insight.
The index was developed by OCSI, a group of data experts providing insight about local communities, who were commissioned by the Local Trust to develop a quantitative measure of areas classed as ‘left behind’ using open data.
In a recent blog post about the Index, HACT’s Head of Social Impact, James Williams, wrote that understanding left behind community is crucial in helping housing providers target their resources more effectively to communities in need.
Indeed, the CNI is particularly important to the social housing sector as it gives a different perspective to more economically based measures of local need. In and of itself the index is a useful measure to help policymakers target investment in social infrastructure.
The Index has been developed at a ward level, as opposed to LSOA level (Lower Level Super Output Area), and covers 19 indicators across three domains:
• Civic assets: The presence or absence of key community, civic, educational and cultural assets in and in close proximity to the area
• Connectedness: Connectivity to key services, digital infrastructure, isolation and strength of the local jobs market
• Engaged communities: Civic, third sector and community participation of the local population and barriers to participation and engagement;
OCSI have produced a useful slide pack of more detailed information on the indicators included in the CNI here. Using these indicators and meaningful measurements can help us to identify struggling areas, which can in turn help housing providers to deliver community initiatives that can benefit these communities, neighbourhoods and people in the future.