Conducting Research on the Care Leavers Project for Digital By Default

dbd-research (1)This week saw the start of the research element of the Care Leavers Project as part of the Digital by Default programme. This project is looking at how we currently provide support services to Care Leavers, and how we might use digital technologies to improve outcomes for Care Leavers. Over the next three weeks, members of the project team will be spending time with care leavers who have agreed to talk to us and allow us to gather our “user needs”. We are spending approximately 6 hours with each care leaver, seeing how they go about their daily lives, and asking questions about the Care Leavers Service. We want to understand how activities, technology and appropriate support and services can improve future outcomes for Care Leavers.

The first visit took place on Tuesday, with one of the project team from the Observatory spending the day with a care leaver who is a young mother. She used to live with a foster carer in Warwickshire, but now living independantly in a city centre. The day was spent both at their home and shopping with the children, her friend and boyfriend. During this time many questions were asked about how and why she does things, her experience of life and the care services and various topics were covered such as communication, aspirations and attitudes. As you can imagine, spending the day with a young person is a daunting task, especially living in a social deprived area, when it is at times surrounded by gangs.

“The experience was extremely rewarding – yes the area was everything that you would expect but I felt fully protected by the people that I was with when shown around the local area. The care leaver spent the day answering my questions, taking me through a typical day that she would experience, taking me shopping to her local supermarkets (alongside her friend and baby).

I noticed a few interesting things throughout my time with them:

– the planning around shopping at a number of different supermarkets in order to get items at the lowest prices e.g. Aldi for nappies, main shop at Tesco (for value products primarily), Iceland for all frozen food. But no fruit or vegetables! All food was convenience food and easy to cook e.g. beans, pizzas, instant noodles.

– Using top ups to manage her mobile phone – only spending £10 per month getting unlimited internet but typically running out of text messages. She hadn’t purchased her phone from a typical provider but from Cash Generator and her friend agreed this was the cheapest way to get a phone.

– Buying the majority of clothes and some household items from ebay and Gumtree – sometimes getting items for free if they would collect. All of the clothes for the children they buy in bundles on these websites for very small amounts of money.

– Attitudes towards others were very broad e.g. “social workers are all the same”. She had branded everyone with one view based upon experiences with just a couple of people. She had a very similar view towards her neighbours and local people.

– Ability to manage money – as money is tight every penny counts!

– A desperate need to not repeat the life she had for her children. She was trying to seek advice on how to get out to work and have a career that she wanted but felt she was not getting the support to do this.”

 

The entire experience has been fascinating and a real eye opener for the project team. Pre-conceptions that the team had before they conducted the research are being challenged by many of the people that they are meeting. It is already proving to be a very valuable method of conducting research and engaging with young people that access our services. It has already highlighted ways and methods that we can engage better with care leavers and will ultimately help identify ways that we can help them access services in the future.
This is the first post of many by the project team but hopefully it gives an insight into the very useful research that we are conducting.

Local Information System update

LIS_educational attainmentIn recent years, increasing importance has been placed on the value of information in local government. The 2006 Local Government White Paper highlighted the important role that local information systems can play in improving decision making and targeting service delivery.

Warwickshire has developed a Local Information System (LIS) using Instant Atlas software that allows users to view local data on interactive reports in the form of maps, charts and tables. The LIS provides data on a range of different demographic, economic and health indicators. This information being publicly available provides a greater degree of transparency on how decisions are made in local government.

The website acts a repository for all Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) related material in Warwickshire and includes:

  • Summaries of each topic
  • Detailed Needs Assessments
  • Access to all the underlying data via the LIS

There are a total of 10 reports now available:

Warwickshire’s population projected to increase to 623,900 people by 2037

The primary purpose of the subnational projections is to provide an estimate of the future size and age structure of the population of local authorities in England. The latest 2012-based projections released by the ONS yesterday suggest Warwickshire is projected to be home to 623,900 people by 2037.  This is a 13.9% increase or 75,900 people in the 25 year period, lower than the equivalent national increase of 16.2%.

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How a population is projected to change locally depends on a number of factors that can interact and produce very different growth rates to England as a whole. The size and age structure of the population at mid-2012 is a big indicator of the future population.

Warwickshire’s population as a whole is projected to be more heavily influenced by migration than natural change (births-deaths) into the future and particularly in later years of the projection, internal migration (between local authorities) plays a larger role in influencing the figures.

Some local planning needs are directly relevant to specific age groups and therefore it is important to understand the possible changes to the age structure of an area when planning for the future.

Overall Warwickshire is expected to grow by 13.9% over the 25 year period, however, this mask considerable variation when looking at broad age bands.  The population aged between 0-15 years is expected to grow by 7% in the 25 year period while those aged between 16-64 years is looking at a fall of 0.2%.  Those aged 65 years or over are expected to increase by nearly two thirds (64%) over 25 years and when we consider the population aged 90 years or over, this rises significantly to 269% (over 2 and a half times the current number of 90+ year olds).

Interactive population pyramidsThe ONS projections released yesterday are considerably lower than the previous 2010 and 2011-based projections across the county. This is likely to be due to the fact that the trends used in the 2012-based subnational population projections are based on a historical population series rebased following the 2011 Census while the trends used in the 2011- based subnational population projections are based on an older population series that does not reflect the findings of the 2011 Census. Other reasons include:

  • changes in the population estimate, used as the base year in the projections, between mid-2011 and mid-2012,
  • changes in the trends (births, deaths and migration),
  • changes in assumptions for international migration at a national level

The team will be looking at these estimates in more detail over the coming weeks, however, ONS have produced an interactive tool to look at how the population is changing over time in your area.

To download the data or for more information, visit the ONS webpages.

 

Warwickshire Key Statistics – Victims of Crime

A report of Warwickshire Key Statistics – Victims of Crime has been produced for the Office of the Police CriFront Cover for blogme
Commissioner. The report examines Warwickshire victim data for the period of 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 which includes key findings from an analysis of Warwickshire Police and various victim support based agencies’ data.

The report provides an analysis by:

  • District and borough
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Crime type
  • Age

along with a typical victim profile for each district and borough in Warwickshire as shown below.
Victim Profiles

 

To read the full report, please click on the picture above. 

 

 

Is your health worse depending on what job you do? Health Inequalities in Warwickshire, 2011 Census

Health Inequalities InfographicHealth outcomes have been shown to vary markedly between people depending on their socio-economic position based on occupation. Socio-economic position is a good indicator of the general living conditions, access to goods and services, career development prospects, educational attainment, salary range, disposable income, wealth, assets and social standing: Such factors are important drivers of well-being and health.

The infographic presented here looks at  rates of ‘Not Good’ health between groups of people based on their socio-economic class from the 2011 Census. People with different occupations and socio-economic statuses report different levels of health. These differences can be described as the health gap or inequality and can be compared between classes in the same geographical location, between areas and between men and women.

An examination of the rates of ‘Not Good’ health from the 2011 Census show there was a pattern of deteriorating health with increasing disadvantage associated with the socio-economic position of the occupation.

Routine workers in Class 7 had the highest rates of ‘Not Good’ health nationally, regionally and at local authority level for both men and women. Conversely, the most advantaged higher managerial and professional class (Class 1) had the lowest rates of ‘Not Good’ health. Continue reading

New electoral statistics published

The 2013 UK Electoral Statistics were released today by the ONS and show that Warwickshire has nearly 422,230 registered electors (including attainers – those who turn 18 during the year of the register and are therefore entitled to vote in an election on or after their 18th birthday) who are entitled to vote in Local Government and European elections.

The latest Electoral Register came into effect on 1 December 2013 and shows the number of people who were registered to vote in the County and Districts/Boroughs.

ElectorsSource: ONS

The county has experienced a fall in electors over the past twelve months (-0.6%), reflecting both national (-0.3%) and regional falls (-1.7%). However, at District/ Borough level, Rugby and Stratford-on-Avon have seen rises in their electorate population between 2012 and 2013.

The data is also available at Parliamentary Constituency level i.e. those able to vote in Westminster Parliamentary elections.

A factor in the decline in the number of both parliamentary and local government electors recorded between 2012 and 2013 is likely to be changes in administrative practices for including people who have failed to complete the annual voter registration form on the electoral register (known as ‘carried forward’ electors). It is also possible that administrative differences between local authority areas are contributing to the recorded regional variation.

The data can be downloaded from ONS using the following link: http://bit.ly/1fvARs4

The ONS have also produced a statistical bulletin that considers the results released today at a national level.

The Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales

The Environmental and Health Atlas for England and Wales, produced by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, provides interactive maps of geographical variations for a range of health conditions and environmental agents at a neighbourhood (small-area) scale in England and Wales.

Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales 1The maps are a resource for those working in public health and public health policy and for the general public to better understand the geographic distribution of environmental agents and health conditions*. The atlas provides information about risks and concentrations for areas; however, risks and exposures for individuals living in those areas may differ.

There are fourteen health conditions mapped at census ward level (average population 6,000) which show the relative risks averaged over a 25 year period (1985-2009, where possible) and can be presented separately for males and females. Some of the health conditions include: lung cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, COPD, still births and low birth weight.

There are seven environmental agents presented which also detail potential health outcomes these may have on an individual.

Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales 2*Please note that simple comparisons of mapped health conditions and environmental agents cannot be used to indicate casual associations as further information would be required (for example family history and current medical conditions).

For the purpose of analysis, it is important to note however that the majority of indicators are based on relatively small numbers with only subtle variations in most instances which are within the limits of statistical uncertainty.

In line with our understanding of health inequalities in Warwickshire, the Atlas highlights a clear north-south divide pattern in terms of Coronary Heart Disease with relative risks generally higher in the northern areas of the County. In terms of Skin Cancer, this pattern is reversed with higher relative risks generally found in South Warwickshire.