Indices of deprivation and GCC’s library strategy

Health warning – the following is long and contains statistics, but we thought it worth posting as it may be of help to local library user groups campaigning against the cuts to their services.

Indices of Deprivation and Gloucestershire County Council’s library strategy.

Under GCC’s plans for the library service, the public library service will be withdrawn from ten communities across the county. In these areas, a library will only remain in any form if it is run and largely funded by the community, and this ‘service’ will be cut off from the public library network. A further seven areas will see their service severely reduced to a ‘Library Link’, and the mobile library vans will disappear completely.

Some of the areas affected by the plans are the most deprived in our county, as explored in this report using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation and the Child Well-being Index.

1. The Indices of Deprivation:

The Indices of Deprivation are measures of deprivation collated by the Office for National Statistics. The measurements are applied to geographical areas called Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs), which are smaller than electoral wards and usually have a population of between 1,000 – 3,000. There are just over 34,000 LSOAs in England, 367 of which are within the county of Gloucestershire.

The Indices consist of seven ‘Domain Indices’:

  1. income
  2. employment
  3. health and disability
  4. education, skills and training
  5. barriers to housing and services
  6. living environment
  7. crime

Using a range of indicators and data, each LSOA is awarded a ‘score’ per Domain, which allows it to be ranked relative to other LSOAs. These domain scores can be analysed in isolation, but are commonly combined to form the ‘headline measure’ – the ‘Indices of Multiple Deprivation’ (IMDs). Two supplementary Domains are also sometimes included; ‘income deprivation affecting children’ and ‘income deprivation affecting older people’. Rankings are arranged so that 1 = most deprived.

The purpose of the Indices is to identify deprivation, and help government to target policies and funding in order to improve quality of life in disadvantaged communities. The most up-to-date Indices of Deprivation data dates from 2007.

2.  Indices of Multiple Deprivation:

Seven LSOAs in Gloucestershire rank within the top 10% most deprived areas of England, and a further eleven fall within the top 25% most deprived areas of England using the IMDs.

This includes LSOAs in Matson and Robinswood, Hesters Way, St, Marks, Springbank and Tuffley. Under GCC’s plans, the libraries at Matson and Tuffley will be withdrawn, as well as Hesters Way Library which serves Hesters Way, St Mark’s and Springbank. LSOAs in these areas also fall within the top 10% of most deprived areas in the county.

3. Domain Indices:

Six individual Domains have been selected for further attention. These Domains appear particularly pertinent to the role of libraries within communities;

  1. Income
  2. Employment
  3. Education, training and skills
  4. Income deprivation affecting children
  5. Income deprivation affecting older people.
  6. Barriers to housing and services (includes transport links as indicator)

3.1. Domain Indices – National Rankings:

LSOAs within Gloucestershire appear in the rankings for the top 10% most deprived areas nationally based on each of the six Domains mentioned above. This is broken down by individual domain below, in relation to the areas that are having their public library service withdrawn under GCC’s plans.

Income domain: Matson and Robinswood, Hesters Way, Springbank (served by Hesters Way Library) and Tuffley appear in the top 10% of deprivation nationally.

Employment domain: Matson and Robinwood, Hesters Way and St Mark’s (served by Hesters Way Library) appear in the top 10% of deprivation nationally.

Education, training and skills domain: Tuffley, Matson and Robinswood, and Springbank appear in the top 10% of deprivation nationally.

Income deprivation affecting children domain: Matson and Robinswood, Hesters Way and Springbank appear in the top 10% of deprivation nationally.

Income deprivation affecting older people: Springbank and Matson and Robinswood appear in the top 10% of deprivation nationally.

While the story so far has been dominated by LSOAs within the county’s main urban areas, the rankings for the Domain ‘Barriers to Housing and Services’ paints a different picture. Thirty-one LSOAs within Gloucestershire rank within the top 10% of deprivation nationally, with the rankings this time dominated by LSOAs situated in rural areas, most often in the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds, although Stroud and Tewkesbury districts are also represented. A key indicator within this Domain is ‘transport barriers’, so it is fair to assume that these rural areas score poorly in part due to limited public transport links and the difficulties faced by those without access to a car -proportionally more likely to be the young, the elderly and the low-income.

3.2. Domain Indices – County Rankings:

Income domain: Matson and Robinswood, Springbank, Hesters Way, Tuffley and St Marks appear within the top 10% most deprived areas in the county.

Employment domain: Matson and Robinswood, St Marks, Hesters Way, Tuffley, Springbank, Newnham, Brockworth and Minchinhampton appear within the top 10% most deprived areas in the county.

Education, training and skills domain: Tuffley, Matson and Robinswood, Springbank, Hesters Way, St Marks, Brockworth and Stonehouse (Library Link) appear within the top 10% most deprived areas in the county.

Income deprivation affecting children domain: Matson and Robinswood, Hesters Way, Tuffley, Springbank, St Marks, Brockworth appear within the top 10% most deprived areas in the county.

Income deprivation affecting older people: Springbank, Matson and Robinswood, Tuffley, St Marks and Stonehouse (Library Link) appear within the top 10% most deprived areas in the county.

As with the national picture, the rankings for the Domain ‘Barriers to Housing and Services’ features rural areas.

4. Child Well-being Index:

Starting in 2009, the Child Well-being Index represents the first attempt to create a small-area index exclusively for children in England. Like the IMDs it is a ranking system applied to LSOAs, and follows similar methodology.

Like the IMDs, the Child Well-being index comprises seven ‘Domain Indices’ which can be utilised both independently, or in conjunction to arrive at an overall ranking for a LSOA. They are:

  1. Material Well-being
  2. Health and Disability
  3. Education
  4. Crime
  5. Housing
  6. Environment
  7. Children in Need

Six Gloucestershire LSOAs fall within the top 10% of deprivation on the Child Well-being Index overall rankings nationally. A further thirty-one LSOAs fall within the top 25% nationally. This includes Matson and Robinswood, Tuffley, Hesters Way, Springbank, St Mark’s and Brockworth, all of whose libraries are earmarked for ‘community transfer’ under GCC’s plans. These same areas appear within the top 10% of deprivation county-wide.

5. Summary:

It is plain that the new library strategy for Gloucestershire will seriously affect the county’s most deprived areas.

5.1. Summary – The national picture:

Under GCC’s plans, the public library service at Matson Library and Hesters Way Library will be withdrawn, and a library will only remain operational in any form if run and funded by the community (‘community transfer’). LSOAs currently served by these libraries (Matson and Robinswood for Matson Library, and Hesters Way, St Marks, and parts of Springbank and St Peters for Hesters Way Library) appear in the rankings for the 10% most deprived areas nationally using the IMDs. Several more LSOAs in these areas feature within the top 25% nationally, as well as an LSOA within Tuffley, whose library is also destined for ‘community transfer.

LSOAs within areas currently served by Matson and Hesters Way Libraries appear in the top 10% most deprived areas nationally when using the individual Domain Indices of income, employment, education , training and skills, income deprivation affecting children, and income deprivation affecting the elderly. LSOAs within Tuffley also feature in the top 10% of deprivation nationally based on the Domains income, and education, training and skills.

Matson and Robinswood features in the top 10% most deprived areas nationally using the Child Well-being Index, while LSOAs within the areas currently served by Hesters Way, Tuffley and Brockworth Libraries fall within the top 25% most deprived nationally.

Thirty-one LSOAs within Gloucestershire rank within the top 10% of deprivation nationally based upon the Domain barriers to housing and service. These LSOAs are situated in rural areas.

5.2. Summary – The county picture

Turning to the county rankings; using the overall Indices of Multiple Deprivation, LSOAs within the areas currently served by Matson, Hesters Way and Tuffley Libraries appear in the top 10% most deprived in the county of Gloucestershire, with an LSOA within Matson and Robinswood ranking as the 2nd most deprived area in the county. LSOAs within these areas also consistently appear in the top 10% ranking of most deprived areas in the county based on the following individual Domain Indices particularly relevant to library use; income, education, employment, deprivation affecting children, and deprivation affecting older people.

Additionally, LSOAs currently served by Brockworth Library (‘community transfer’) feature on the top 10% most deprived rankings for the county when based upon the individual Domain Indices of employment, education, and deprivation affecting children. Stonehouse (destined for a ‘Library Link’) appears in the 10% most deprived ranking based on education, and deprivation affecting the elderly, and Newnham and Minchinhampton (both planned for ‘community transfer’) feature in the top 10% most deprived ranking based on employment.

Areas currently served by Matson, Hesters Way, Tuffley and Brockworth Libraries also feature in the top 10% ranking of the most disadvantaged areas in the county using the Child Well-being Index.

Under GCC’s plans, all Gloucestershire communities where LSOAs register within the top 10% of deprivation at either the national or county level or both, based upon Indices of Deprivation, the five individual Domain Indices pertinent to library use, and the Child Well-being Index, and which currently have a public library service, will lose it.

The top 10% ranking of deprivation based on the Domain, ‘barriers to housing and services’ is dominated by LSOAs located within our county’s rural areas, suggesting that poor rural transport links is an issue, and that the withdrawal or severe reduction of public library services in small rural towns and villages, plus the removal of the mobile library service, will also have a large impact.

The Council’s own original Equality Impact Assessment, dated 9th November 2010, confirms that community needs and social impacts in deprived area have not been taken into account, by repeating the criteria of geographical spread and usage as the sole factors in decision making. A revised EIA was released in January 2011, and states that ‘Maiden (deprivation) data was analysed for each of the current libraries catchment areas with a note of any hotspots where the data significantly differed from the Gloucestershire norm.  Areas where multiple deprivation indices applied were assessed’. Given the above information, it is difficult to see how this has been the case. It remains the case that the most deprived areas in Gloucestershire will lose their public library service under these plans.

A full version of this report, including explanatory tables, is available on request by emailing foc.cheltlib@gmail.com. Source IMD and Child Well-Being Index data can be viewed here.

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One Response to Indices of deprivation and GCC’s library strategy

  1. Alan Wylie says:

    this is absolutley fantastic, well done! A very valuable and useful bit of research and one avenue that i will definitely explore myself. From my own experience authorities are totally disregarding such research when it comes to cutting services, in my own authority Haringey they have systematically failed to provide access to EIA,s and other reports when consulting with service users and the general public and consistently failing to follow guidelines laid down by BERR and EHRC.

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