Report on conceptual framework to measure social progress at the local level and case studies

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Summary

The aim of this project is to develop our understanding on how to measure social progress at a local level. The overarching aim of is to encourage greater use, consistency and development of measures of social progress across municipalities, cities and regions.

The report sets out definitions on local progress and guiding principles to develop a conceptual framework. The project builds on the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM), which was developed by The Young Foundation.

The WARM framework is populated with existing data from a range of data sources to illustrate where data exists and where there are gaps. Data is mapped at a pan-European level, sub-national level and at a local level. The conceptual framework is further refined and tested through the case studies.
The findings of this report suggest that the existing administrative infrastructure provides a good foundation to develop a common conceptual framework to measure social progress at a local level. In addition, much of the data for a conceptual framework currently exists.

However, inconsistencies in the definitions employed, in the use of geographic spatial levels and data collected do give rise to specific challenges.

The report concludes with specific recommendations on how to respond to the identified challenges and build on the aspiration to provide a common and unifying understanding of social progress at a local level.

 

About

This report is an output of the e-Frame (European Framework for Measuring Progress) project.

e-Frame is a major international project which aims to provide a European framework for the debate over the measure of well-being and progress. The project involves a broad range of activities including conferences and workshops, as well as research and the development of guidelines. It is led by two major European National Statistical Institutes (NSIs), ISTAT (in Italy) and the CBS (in the Netherlands), and includes amongst the partners two other NSIs (the French INSEE and the UK ONS), the OECD, and several universities and civil society organisations. It is funded by the EU FP7 Work Programme.

How do we measure social progress? Traditionally, we have relied on monetary or material indicators to understand societal progress. The Young Foundation is currently part of a consortium of organisations asking what alternative measures exist and developing a way to move ‘Beyond GDP’ in Europe.

During recent years, there has been a lot of interest in measuring progress that takes account of a broader set of indicators (including life satisfaction) to measure progress.

This project will provide guidance on how existing robust frameworks could be used to capture progress at the local level, identify areas for further research and provide recommendations on how best to implement a conceptual framework at a local level.

Specifically, The Young Foundation is focusing on documenting existing conceptual framework, primarily the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM), and assesses data availability and gaps in the data. WARM allows local agencies to take the temperature of their communities, from assessing levels of anxiety to how often people talk to their neighbours.
The project aims to encourage greater use, consistency and development of measures of social progress across municipalities, cities and regions.

Levels of life satisfaction can vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Estimates of life satisfaction at country or even city level can disguise patterns or trends and disparities between localised areas, with some communities reporting high levels of satisfaction and other areas which are struggling to cope. Therefore, taking a more granular approach can help to bring into view a much more accurate picture of how communities are faring.

The aspiration is to encourage greater use, consistency and development of measures at a local level, from neighbourhood forums, municipalities, cities, to regions in Europe. A common understanding on the available measures and frameworks of measurement should prompt greater take up of measures and frameworks.

The report explores the potential for creating a general approach to measuring progress at a local level. It is our intention that the guidance contained in this report can be utilised by a range of audiences, namely local policy makers, academics and statisticians. The project builds on existing evidence and does not contain any new research.

The framework for the stocktaking exercise and the case studies adopt the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM) as a framework. The report identifies gaps in data collection and further areas for research and exploration. The report sets out the findings from a stocktaking exercise and two case studies upon which our recommendations are based

This report is structured as follows:

  • Definition of local progress
  • Methodology
  • Stocktaking of European data
  • Case studies: Lindängen (Malmö) and Roquetes (Barcelona)
  • Recommendations for measuring progress at a local level

Download the Report

Report on conceptual framework to measure social progress at the local level and case studies

 

Authors

Nina Mguni and Lucia Caistor-Arendar, The Young Foundation

 

See Also

Wellbeing and Resilience Measure
Walloon Project to Measure Well-Being in Wallonia
European Network on Measuring Progress
European Framework for Measuring Progress