The Office for National Statistics is measuring national well-being and the Government is exploring ways to improve it, most recently setting up a What Works Centre to build the evidence base on which decisions can be made. It is perhaps a statement of the obvious but government decisions only play a partial role in determining the nation’s well-being - the decisions of businesses, charities, councils, and of course the personal choices we all make, are influential, often more so.
Businesses particularly have an important role to play in promoting health and well-being through their employment policies; research shows, for example, that we derive much more from our work than the income we earn. With councils now leading on public health, there is the potential for partnership working between businesses and local authorities on improving health and well-being. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) provide opportunities for such partnership working; they were established in 2010 and bring together businesses and councils across areas which properly reflect the natural economic geographies of England. Their primary focus is on growth but some of their levers and influences could well have a positive impact on the well-being of local people.
So how does well-being vary across LEP areas?
How does well-being vary across the Local Enterprise Partnership Areas?
We have analysed the personal well-being data from the National Statistics Annual Population Survey over three years from April 2011 to March 2014. The four personal well-being questions, which are now national statistics, are answered on a scale of nought to ten:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
- Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
- Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
- Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
The tables (see end of blog) present mean personal well-being levels for residents in each LEP. "Increasing" indicates we can have at least 95% confidence that the mean has increased over the period while "decreasing" similarly indicate a reduction. For some measures an increase represents an improvement, while for anxiety reductions are more desirable.
So what do the results show? Well if all LEPs are grouped together it is clear that there have been significant improvements since 2011 across all four measures of personal well-being. The results by individual LEP area reveal a varied picture. Setting the anxiety results to one side for a moment – Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and Cumbria have relatively high well-being while Greater Birmingham and Solihull and London have relatively low well-being. Interestingly those LEP areas with the lowest wellbeing have seen significant improvements since 2011 – with five of the lowest six experiencing improvements across all four measures. So it appears that over the period the gap has closed across areas and if we look at the distributions within low well-being areas we can see that improvements have been, in part, driven by reductions in people with very low well-being.
It is clear that anxiety varies differently to the other three measures – for example Black Country residents have the lowest levels of anxiety while also having among the lowest levels of wellbeing across the other measures.
Actively considering the impacts of policy on wellbeing
Of course LEP areas in some cases are large places and while looking at the differences between areas it is also worth noting that there will be differences within areas – for example Birmingham has markedly lower well-being than Solihull and Walsall – yet they are combined in the same LEP area. That said the data is interesting – particularly the recent trends. LEPs could build on the momentum of recent improvements in well-being in their areas by further considering the likely impact of their decisions on the well-being of those living and working in the area. The O’Donnell report Well-being and Policy – made a number of evidence based recommendations which are relevant to LEPs notably: promoting stable economic growth, creating a built environment that is sociable and green, reducing unemployment through active welfare, empowering citizens and improving well-being at work for employees.
An early snap shot of the data with more to come...
This is an early snapshot of the results from analysing a new 3-year dataset released by ONS. This dataset supports more robust analysis of well-being across local areas due to its enhanced sample size. In due course ONS will release well-being estimates for LEP areas and other geographies.
Please get in touch if you have any information on the analysis in this blog or want to find out more about getting access to the dataset.
Tables of wellbeing results by Local Enterprise Partnership areas
Table 1: Average life satisfaction in Local Enterprise Partnerships
|Local Enterprise Partnership
(sorted by average life satisfaction)
|Average life satisfaction 2011 to 2014||Change from 2011-12 to
|Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly||7.79||No change|
|York and North Yorkshire||7.64||No change|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||7.60||No change|
|The Marches||7.57||No change|
|Coast to Capital||7.55||No change|
|Oxfordshire LEP||7.55||No change|
|Heart of the South West||7.54||Increasing|
|Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough||7.53||Increasing|
|Cheshire and Warrington||7.52||No change|
|Buckinghamshire Thames Valley||7.52||No change|
|Tees Valley||7.52||No change|
|Thames Valley Berkshire||7.51||Increasing|
|Leicester and Leicestershire||7.50||No change|
|Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nott’shire||7.48||Increasing|
|Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire||7.48||No change|
|South East Midlands||7.46||No change|
|All LEPS Combined||7.45||Increasing|
|Leeds City Region||7.44||Increasing|
|Sheffield City Region||7.42||Increasing|
|North Eastern||7.41||No change|
|West of England||7.41||No change|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||7.39||Increasing|
|Liverpool City Region||7.33||No change|
|Greater Birmingham and Solihull||7.27||Increasing|
Table 2: Average level of worthwhile activity in Local Enterprise Partnerships
|Local Enterprise Partnership
(sorted by average level of worthwhile activity)
|Average level of worthwhile activity 2011 to 2014||Change from 2011-12 to
|Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly||7.97||No change|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||7.86||No change|
|Coast to Capital||7.83||No change|
|York and North Yorkshire||7.82||No change|
|Buckinghamshire Thames Valley||7.81||No change|
|Greater Lincolnshire||7.79||No change|
|The Marches||7.78||No change|
|Cheshire and Warrington||7.78||No change|
|Heart of the South West||7.77||No change|
|Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough||7.77||No change|
|Thames Valley Berkshire||7.73||Increasing|
|Leicester and Leicestershire||7.72||No change|
|South East Midlands||7.71||No change|
|Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nott’shire||7.70||No change|
|Leeds City Region||7.70||No change|
|Sheffield City Region||7.70||Increasing|
|All LEPS Combined||7.70||Increasing|
|Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire||7.67||No change|
|Liverpool City Region||7.67||No change|
|North Eastern||7.65||No change|
|West of England||7.63||No change|
|Greater Birmingham and Solihull||7.53||Increasing|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||7.52||Increasing|
Table 3: Average level of happiness yesterday in Local Enterprise Partnerships
|Local Enterprise Partnership
(sorted by average level of happiness yesterday)
|Average level of happiness yesterday 2011 to 2014||Change from 2011-12 to
|Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly||7.57||No change|
|Cheshire and Warrington||7.47||No change|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||7.46||No change|
|York and North Yorkshire||7.45||No change|
|The Marches||7.45||No change|
|Coast to Capital||7.44||No change|
|Buckinghamshire Thames Valley||7.42||No change|
|Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough||7.40||No change|
|Heart of the South West||7.38||No change|
|South East||7.38||No change|
|Leicester and Leicestershire||7.38||Increasing|
|Thames Valley Berkshire||7.37||No change|
|Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire||7.37||No change|
|South East Midlands||7.36||No change|
|Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nott’shire||7.35||No change|
|All LEPS Combined||7.33||Increasing|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||7.31||Increasing|
|Sheffield City Region||7.30||Increasing|
|Leeds City Region||7.29||Increasing|
|West of England||7.26||No change|
|Oxfordshire LEP||7.25||No change|
|Greater Birmingham and Solihull||7.20||Increasing|
|Liverpool City Region||7.12||No change|
Table 4: Average level of anxiety yesterday in Local Enterprise Partnerships
|Local Enterprise Partnership
(sorted by average level of anxiety yesterday)
|Average level of anxiety yesterday 2011 to 2014||Change from 2011-12 to
|York and North Yorkshire||2.75||Decreasing|
|Coventry and Warwickshire||2.79||Decreasing|
|Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire||2.89||Decreasing|
|Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly||2.90||No change|
|Cheshire and Warrington||2.90||Decreasing|
|Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nott’shire||2.90||Decreasing|
|Swindon and Wiltshire||2.94||No change|
|Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough||2.94||Decreasing|
|Heart of the South West||2.96||No change|
|Greater Birmingham and Solihull||2.96||Decreasing|
|South East Midlands||2.97||Decreasing|
|Buckinghamshire Thames Valley||2.99||No change|
|Leeds City Region||3.02||Decreasing|
|All LEPS Combined||3.03||Decreasing|
|Sheffield City Region||3.06||Decreasing|
|West of England||3.09||Decreasing|
|Coast to Capital||3.10||Decreasing|
|Thames Valley Berkshire||3.10||No change|
|Liverpool City Region||3.17||No change|
|Leicester and Leicestershire||3.31||Decreasing|
 See Jahoda et al 1971: Marienthal: the sociography of an unemployed community, which outlined the impacts of unemployment going beyond obvious financial hardships and concluding that work brings wider non-financial benefits such as sense of personal worth, connections with wider social objectives etc.
 Note that a 3 year Annual Population Survey dataset developed by ONS has been used for estimates of mean well-being and three individual annual datasets have been used to provide an indication of whether changes in well-being between years is significant to a 95% confidence.