Tuesday, 29 November 2011

NEETs in England, 2000 to 2011 (Animated Chart)

The news last week that the number of 16 to 24 year olds in England not in education, employment or training (NEET) reached an all-time high was widely covered, and quite shocking since there are now 1.16 million 16 to 24 year olds in this category. I thought it might be quite interesting to look at the data more closely to see how it compares to other time periods. The Department for Education publish the NEET data on a quarterly basis and the most recent data are for the third quarter of 2011 at the regional level. "What would the quarterly data look like in an animated bar chart?", I hear you say. Click the image below to find out!

I should say that you'll need to watch the clip a few times in order to make sense of it (and use the pause button), but once you get your head round it, it tells an interesting story (it also dances a bit like an equalizer on an old stereo). The lowest NEET total for England was in the second quarter of 2000 (629,000) and the highest total comes from the third quarter of 2011 (1,163,000). The highest regional percentage figure for NEETs was in the third quarter of 2011 in the North West (23.9%) and the lowest was in the last quarter of 2003 and the first quarter of 2004 in the South West (7.4%).

Lots of interesting stories here but the most striking thing is the total number of NEETs in England. 

Note: I created this using Google's motion charts and recorded it using Camtasia.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Children in Poverty

I think I've already said enough - and done enough mapping - of general deprivation indices across the UK. Well, probably. Either way, I thought it would be interesting to take a slightly different view. In England, the Indices of Deprivation 2010 include two supplementary indices: the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and the Income Deprivation Affecting Older People Index (IDAOPI). Not very catchy acronyms, and these indices are not that well known, hence my efforts to map the IDACI data for England (screenshot below)...

The map I've produced in Google's Fusion Tables follows the format of many others I've done, but this time I've summarised the data using 2010 parliamentary constituencies - following the same method that the IMD people use to derive summary measures at the local authority level. On the main map, you can find out how deprived a constituency is (i.e. the relative rank in England) by clicking on it. Red = more deprived, blue = less deprived. Using this method, the constituencies with the highest levels of income deprivation affecting children are as follows:
  1. Poplar and Limehouse
  2. Bethnal Green and Bow
  3. Manchester Central
  4. Tottenham
  5. Hackney South and Shoreditch
  6. Birmingham Ladywood
  7. Islington South and Finsbury
  8. Edmonton
  9. West Ham
  10. Birmingham Hodge Hill
The really noticeable thing here is the number of London constituencies. In the general IMD for England, it is areas in the North West which dominate, but not here. As to why this is, there are many reasons but that's not the point today. Why not explore the national patterns on the map and see how your area compares (if you live in England). The most important thing about all this is, of course, the fact that so many children in England are adversely affected by income deprivation.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Learning from the past in regeneration?

Last week, a government select committee published their report into regeneration. This was all about regeneration (and its failures) in England, but much of it resonates more widely. Before I mention what was in the report, it is worth noting the composition of the committee: 5 Labour MPs (including the committee chair), 6 Conservative MPs, 1 Liberal Democrat MP. I should also mention that last week a paper of mine was published. This is significant not because I had something published (!) but because the paper was entitled 'Learning from the Past? A Review of Approaches to Spatial Targeting in Urban Policy' and it has a lot to say about the issues in the select committee report. Unusually, for me, it also has no maps or stats in it! I look at examples from across the world and my view is that there is a problem with the way we conceptualise the 'problem' in urban policy, but enough about that.

Back to the select committee report... The most significant thing the report says - and this was widely reported in the news and regen media - is the following quote, from the opening paragraph of the conclusion:

"Regeneration to enable growth offers little evidence that the Government has a coherent strategy for addressing the country's regeneration needs. The document lacks strategic direction and fails to target action and resources at the communities most in need. The measures it sets out are unlikely to bring in sufficient resources or to attract the private sector investment that in many areas is badly needed."

The part about investment being badly needed in many areas is perhaps most significant in some of the former housing market renewal areas - one example being the Welsh streets in Liverpool - see a Google street view of this here. This subject is covered more generally in Part 3 of the report where there is a particularly powerful quote from from Ros Groves, Chair of a Liverpool residents' association, who said:

"We need to think what my people are living in and the conditions they are living in. It is a famous line: we have kids in schools; you ask them to draw a house and they will draw you a house with boarded-up windows, not fancy little curtains or anything else. To me, that is not a future that we can build on, which is criminal. We have a right to have a decent life and place where we live, and that is the one thing that we ask Government. Can we have it? Can we let any Pathfinder area be left with what some people are being left to live in?"

As you can tell, the committee are not exactly thrilled with the government's approach to the housing market renewal programme. Regeneration and Renewal used the word 'damning' and that about covers it.

In Learning the Lessons in Part 4 of the report there is a quote from Paul Lawless, Professor of Urban Policy at Sheffield Hallam University. His views on learning lessons are summed up in one particular quote: 

"One marked weakness in this strand of policy has been a reluctance on the part of new administrations to learn from previous regeneration initiatives. There is every possibility of this happening again, as a new government launches a regeneration programme with little if any acknowledgement of lessons from previous interventions."

My small contribution to the literature effectively finds the same things, and not just in England but more widely in different parts of the world. Not learning from the past, however, is not restricted to regeneration but the implications of not doing so here are particularly severe for those living in areas targeted by urban policy. 

Full details of the inquiry associated with the report can be found here. That's all I have to say for today! Take a look at the report - it makes fascinating reading (though I couldn't find it a pdf version).