Northamptonshire County Council use P² to better target their services
Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), like every council, have the daunting task of distributing their resources in the most efficient way to benefit residents. They approached us looking for a geodemographic profiling solution to help them to improve service provision and, most importantly, the health and wellbeing of the population of Northamptonshire. We suggested P² People & Places (P²), our own geodemographic profiling data based on census and lifestyle data.
No single data source will provide sufficient data to fulfil all of a council’s requirements but NCC have brought together an impressive range of sources to approach the challenge. Each subset of data can then be applied to the ‘tree’ and ‘branch’ demographic profiles within P² and then mapped onto the administrative areas in the county.
Identifying potential socially isolated groups
The goal here was to develop a segmentation model for the socially isolated, as part of a wider programme of work on social prescribing. NCC had previously commissioned a local mental wellbeing survey with targeted questions such as “How often do you talk to your neighbours?” and “How often do you meet friends and relatives not living with you?”. They also used Office of National Statistics (ONS) life satisfaction data for a more robust data model.
P² data was used to identify those demographic groups that were above the national average for people aged 65 and older, from a single household, with no car, earning less than £17,499, and those with a long-term limiting illness.
All of these datasets were combined to produce heat maps to help identify potentially higher risk areas. The data has been used in analysis to understand key population groups for social prescribing as well as included in local Primary Care Network (PCN) Profiles. This work is still in development and is part of an upcoming Joint Strategic Needs Assessment on vulnerable groups in Northamptonshire. NCC will continue to explore the index with partners and develop it further.
P² as part of a holistic data portfolio
It can be challenging trying to identify different social needs at lower affluence levels given the emphasis of some demographic data on the use of financial or credit records to help differentiate groups. Fortunately, P² data does not use such data, instead it uses models based upon Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) and British Population Survey ( BPS) data to add depth to basic census data, which means that it offers good levels of data discrimination at all affluence levels.
This case study shows how P² data can be used as a way for bringing disparate data together and modelling the results over a wide geographic area. With census, LCF and BPS data at its core, it provides a robust national model using both postcode and administrative geography to which other data can be appended.
A word about confidential data
With sensitive data such as mental wellbeing surveys, which, being qualitative in nature can sometimes be attributed to individuals, it is important to look at how to use the data for the purpose it was collected, but also maintain confidentiality. In this case study, individual responses were attributed to the relevant geodemographic group and then aggregated and modelled across all areas in which that group exists. In this way, value is taken from individual data early in the process before being rendered confidential and only presented at a large-scale (in this case the survey data was presented at MSOA level but combined into a LSOA level model) making it impossible to trace back to the individual.
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