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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 21:17 GMT 22:17 UK
Finding out about your postcode

Discovering more about the area you live in or are planning to move into has become an increasingly lucrative business for some and gives an insight into the state of Britain for others.

Many people now use the resources available to find out more about key services in their areas, such as schools, hospitals and transport. It is also possible to find out about schemes and projects in your neighbourhood for issues such as recycling.

The following are some of the resources which the Panorama team found useful in researching the programme and which may be useful in help you to find out answers about your local area.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Life in Britain

Panorama's researchers were assisted in their research by Danny Dorling, Ben Wheeler, John Pritchard from the Human Geography Department at the University of Sheffield and Richard Mitchell at the University of Edinburgh.

They have just published an analysis of data from the 2001 Census, entitled "Life in Britain". It gives a picture of Britain in ten short reports which examine what the Census tells us about social inequalities in Britain.

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

According to its website, "the job of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is to help create sustainable communities, working with other Government departments, local councils, businesses, the voluntary sector, and communities themselves."

It offers a wide range of links to information on issues such as housing, local government and neighbourhood renewals schemes. It also offers research and statistics relating to government policy in these and related areas.

Indices of Deprivation 2004

This features in depth research by The Social Disadvantage Research Centre (SDRC) at the Department of Social Policy and Social Research at the University of Oxford. It was commissioned by the ODPM to update similar research done in 2000. The aim is to measure levels of multiple deprivation within a small area.

In England there are 32,482 Super Output Areas (SOA) on which the research is based. For example, in Hampshire there are 1,091 (including the Unitary Authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, not including the Isle of Wight).

Data can further be extracted at Ward level (Each Ward contains several SOAs). Grange Ward (Rowner) for example has 4 SOAs, Alverstoke Ward 3.

The Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2004 contain seven "domains of deprivation": Income, Employment, Health and Disability, Education skills and training, Barriers to Housing and Services, Living Environment, Crime.

Each of these domains contains a number of indicators which are specific to that domain and based on both local and national data, as well as the 2001 census

The indices are used at both national and regional governmental level to target areas for Regeneration under schemes such as the "New Deal for Communities" and "Neighbourhood Renewal Fund".

Social Exclusion Unit

The Social Exclusion Unit was established in 1997 by the Prime Minister to lead innovative thinking in addressing some of society's most difficult problems. On their website the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott et al about the goal to end Postcode Poverty:

"We believe that everyone should share in the nation's prosperity. We have made progress towards ending post-code poverty. But some communities are still suffering from the consequences of years of neglect. No one should be disadvantaged by where they live."

The work of the Social Exclusion Unit includes specific projects to tackle specific issues and wide-ranging programmes to assess past policy and identify future trends. Areas covered by its work include; children and young people, crime, employment and opportunity, health and care, homes and neighbourhoods, transport and developments in exclusion.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

One of the largest social policy research and development charities in the UK, spending about 7 million a year on a research and development programme that seeks to better understand the causes of social difficulties and explore ways of overcoming them.

Office of National Statistics

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) runs a website from which you can collate information from postcode to national level.

It holds information collated from sources including the 2001Census, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Education and Skills (DFES), The Land Registry and Labour Force Survey.

Though it works by entering a postcode to select an area, the data actually returned refers to SOA or Ward data as used by other research, such as the Indices of Deprivation 2004.

Areas covered by the ONS include: "Your location", people and society, Health and care, deprivation, economic activity, education, skills and training, housing and households.

Other Websites

There are now several commercial websites which offer information on services in your local area, such as council tax, house prices and profiles of the "types" of people living in the area.

Upmystreet is a site which brings together much of this information in one place and is focused at the consumer rather than the professional researcher.

Sites like this tend to use Postcode marketing tools, which offer generic descriptions of the type of people in different postcodes, such as Acorn and Mosaic.

There are other government sites (Department for Education and Skills, Department of Work and Pensions) where you can get specific data on Education (League tables, Ofsted reports) or Benefits.

Local Borough and County Councils normally have research departments that publish local census and deprivation data on their websites.


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