Quality of Life in Warwickshire 2012/13 Annual Report Published…..

Today Warwickshire Observatory publishes the annual Quality of Life report which provides a detailed look at the people, places and communities in our county. The report is an assessment of the demographic, social, economic and environmental themes that all play a part in influencing our residents’ quality of life.  Some of the issues are easier to influence than others, but the purpose of the report is to provide decision makers with the analysis they need to make more informed choices, and to give all staff in the council a better understanding of the communities that we serve in Warwickshire.

We are always looking at ways to improve the Quality of Life Report and the main innovation this year has been to provide a tool to view and analyse many of the datasets included in the report at a very local level. Throughout the report, you will see the ‘Interactive Map’ icon,  which allows you to examine local data on particular themes through our Instant Atlas tool. This feature also allows downloading of the raw data for each indicator so that you can carry out your own analysis, should you wish to.

This year we have seen some interesting changes, for example where trends may now have reached a turning point and are starting to shift, and where there is little evidence to suggest that inequalities are shrinking.

To find out more please click on the link below to be taken to the report.

2012-13 Quality of Life Report

Any feedback you have can be made through the comments section of our Blog or via Twitter (@WarksObs).

Troubled Families Programme – Work Progressing in Warwickshire

The Troubled Families programme is a new initiative led by Communities and Local Government (CLG) to ‘turn around’ 120,000 families nationally over the next three years. Significant funding is being made available to local partnerships to address a range of social and economic issues affecting households.

The Observatory has been commissioned to collate the data on behalf of the partnership group leading this work in Warwickshire. We are currently at the stage where we are collecting datasets from our partner agencies that meet the criteria as laid out in the framework document for the Troubled Families project.

In Warwickshire the project is in its early stages of identifying the households that meet this criteria. We already have strong links with our partner agencies which are helping in the task of pulling together key datasets for the project. It is an exciting new project for the Observatory and one that is enabling us to work much closer with partner agencies.

As you would expect the actual detail of the work is confidential but we will share updates here on how the project is progressing when possible.

New statistics on fly-tipping in Warwickshire

Last month, Defra published new statistics on the number of fly-tipping incidents recorded across all local authority areas in England and Wales.  The latest figures, covering the year 2010/11, illustrated a 13.5% reduction in the number of incidents recorded nationally.  This may seem like a relatively unusual dataset to comment on through this blog, but the level of fly-tipping taking place across the county is important for two reasons; the cost to local authorities in clearing sites and the psychological impact that fly-tipping can have on communities.  Residents often tell us that an attractive local environment is important to them, and in the most recent Citizens’ Panel ‘clean streets’ was considered to be the fifth most important factor in making somewhere a good place to live, ranked more important than job prospects, public transport and activities for teenagers amongst other things.

Here are some headlines taken from the Warwickshire data on fly-tipping…

  • In 2010/11, there were 2,718 fly-tipping incidents in Warwickshire recorded on Defra’s FlyCapture system (the official monitoring system for this dataset)
  • This represents an increase of 12.8% on 2009/10, conflicting with the national trend
  • However, all of this increase is due to a rise in the number of incidents recorded in Warwick District, which rose from 351 to 955 in 2010/11 and is likely to be a consequence of a change in recording practices
  • Elsewhere in the county, figures were down in 2010/11 with each of the other four districts/boroughs recording fewer incidents
  • That reflects recent trends more accurately, as prior to 2010/11 incidents had falllen for three consecutive years
  • According to the Flycapture system, a total of 311 actions were taken against fly-tippers in 2010/11 in Warwickshire
  • More than half of fly-tipping incidents across the county involved household waste (55%)
  • The average cost of dealing with a fly-tipping incident, nationally, was £75.  This includes both removal and legal costs.  Applying this average locally means that the county spent more than £200,000 on dealing with fly-tipping in 2010/11.

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For more information contact the Observatory at research@warwickshire.gov.uk or visit the Defra website.

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Library Opening Hours Consultation

In July, Cabinet approved the reduction in opening hours of Warwickshire libraries and we are now consulting on the pattern of opening hours at 16 sites. Consultation is taking place on the pattern of opening hours for the following libraries: Alcester, Atherstone, Bedworth, Coleshill, Kenilworth, Leamington, Lillington, Nuneaton, Polesworth, Rugby, Shipston, Southam, Stratford, Wellesbourne, Whitnash, Wolston. The consultation runs from today until Sunday, 11 December 2011.

There are two options for each library. They are based on feedback already received from the previous consultation exercise held earlier this year about the consultation process, and current usage of libraries and are intended to establish a memorable pattern of opening.

The survey can be completed by visiting the  Library Consultation Blog at http://libraryconsult.wordpress.com/. Just click on the link, and then click on ‘complete the online survey here’ in the top-right corner.

Once the results have been analysed the outcome of the consultation will be published. The intention is to implement the revised opening hours from 1 April 2012. The option selected for each library will be based on the majority preference.

Quality of Life in Warwickshire 2011/12

Welcome to the 2011/12 Quality of Life in Warwickshire Report (warning:  large file size). The report presents a variety of indicators that help to measure the quality of life experienced by residents of the county, and is used to support evidence-based policy-making by all public sector organisations in Warwickshire. 

The report identifies a series of key messages and examines the extent of inequality across the county, the continued uncertainty surrounding the health of the economy and the impact of our growing and ageing population.  The report also highlights successes such as reductions in crime levels and improvements in educational attainment.

Please click on the image to view the main report or click here to see a Key Messages summary paper.

If you want to keep up to date with reports, profiles and information produced by the Observatory, enter your e-mail address in the ‘Email Subscription’ box on the right hand side of this page.

[Note: to exit the full-screen mode when viewing the report, press the ‘escape’ key, you should then be able to zoom in and out of the report]

Warwickshire Citizens’ Panel – Wave 33

The Observatory has just issued the 33rd Wave of the Warwickshire Citizens’ Panel. The Citizens’ Panel is made up of nearly 1,300 residents of Warwickshire whose views we have sought on a regular basis over the past ten years. This time, we are making the survey available to all residents of Warwickshire rather than just those that have signed up to be Panel members.

This wave focuses on ‘Warwickshire County Council and your local area’, ‘Crime and Community Safety’ and ‘Transport’. As always, all answers will be treated in the strictest of confidence, and will not be passed on to any third parties.

In the coming months we are going to change the way the Citizens’ Panel is managed, and this is the last time we are issuing the Panel survey in a ‘traditional’ format (i.e. primarily paper-based). Although the Panel has been extremely valuable in providing us with some of the information we need to help us make decisions, the current approach is now dated and we want to modernise the way we gather views from residents of Warwickshire. There is an opportunity at the end of the questionnaire to be involved in our new approach, and we are encouraging residents to sign up.

Please circulate the link to this survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CP33_Public) to any residents of Warwickshire that you think might be interested in participating. The more respondents we get, the more robust our results will be, and we will be in a better position to generate local results (i.e. district or Locality).

The closing date for responses is 23rd September 2011. Check back on our blog in October for results from the survey and more details on our future approach to consulting with the public.

If you have any questions about the panel, either now or in the future, please contact Renata Conduit, Corporate Consultation Officer, Warwickshire County Council on 01926 736124 or e-mail renataconduit@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Warwickshire Consultation Hub launched

Today sees the formal launch of the new Consultation Hub.  The Hub provides a central point for the coordination of all consultation activity across Warwickshire, and is a partnership venture, led by Warwickshire County Council with support from the Police, Health, district/borough councils and the voluntary sector. 

The Hub will collate all planned, current and completed consultations in a single place, with the objectives of:

  • enabling staff from different organisations to see what consultation has taken place
  • enabling staff to avoid duplication by utilising existing consultation results
  • enabling staff to liaise with respect to planned consultations and prevent overlap
  • enabling staff to share good practice in consultation approaches
  • enabling the public to register interest in consultations and receive notifications about updates
  • enabling the public to participate in consultations in a single place
  • enabling staff and public to see what the outcomes of consultations are and how the results have been implemented

If you are carrying out any consultation it is your responsibility to enter it onto the system.  The database is available to the public on our webpages to view and, when used to its potential, it will be a valuable tool to monitor and track all consultations across the partnership

Visit the Consultation Hub here, and please begin to either add your consultation activity or monitor the database for consultations that are of interest.  For further information, contact Renata Conduit (renataconduit@warwickshire.gov.uk) or 01926 736124.