Children's Services Statistical Neighbour Benchmarking Tool

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Local Government Organisation Updated Model

Following Local Government reorganisation resulting in the formation of four new local authorities (LAs) replacing Bedfordshire and Cheshire, it has become necessary to update the Children's Services Statistical Neighbours model. Authorities that previously had Bedfordshire or Cheshire as neighbours should expect changes, some other authorities may also see a slight change to their neighbour list. The tool does not contain outcome data for the new authorities. Until outcome data becomes available for the new LAs those LAs which have one of the new LAs as a neighbour will effectively have fewer neighbours for comparison purposes.

There has been no change in methodology used to create the neighbours and the same sources were used for the demographic data. Data for the old LAs was broken down to District level and then re-aggregated to form the demographic information for each of the new LAs. As such the neighbours are as they would have appeared had the new LAs existed in Jan 2007 when the model was first released.

A document is available in Additional Information below which summarises the effect of these changes.

What are statistical neighbours?

Statistical neighbour models provide one method for benchmarking progress. For each LA, these models designate a number of other LAs deemed to have similar characteristics. These designated LAs are known as statistical neighbours. Any LA may compare its performance (as measured by various indicators) against its statistical neighbours to provide an initial guide as to whether their performance is above or below the level that might be expected.

To date both Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) have provided different statistical neighbours models enabling comparisons to be made between LAs with similar socio-demographic backgrounds. Both have limitations as they were not designed to meet the needs of the new national and local structures for delivering children's services. In addition, the new model uses more recent census information (2001) than previous models.

The rationale for the development of a new model was that there should be one set of statistical neighbours for children's services which everyone would use. Ofsted have supported the development of the model and these neighbours have been used in the 2007 APAs.

How can the tool be used?

A practitioner user guide is available below.

It should be noted that the comparison of outcome information is intended as a starting point for viewing performance to support benchmarking work. To obtain a comprehensive picture this needs to be supplemented with further analysis of performance information, including trends over time.

The tool also allows the user to display up to five outcome measures from a list of available measures. The outcome measures displayed will be updated regularly by DCSF, the date of the most recent update will be displayed here and users should re-visit this site to ensure they are making use of the most recent version.

The neighbours themselves will not be updated until the 2011 Census information becomes available for analytical purposes in 2013.

The release date below refers to the last release of the model which affected the neighbours themselves. Neighbours remain unchanged since this date but outcome indicators are frequently updated and a new tool is uploaded to this site.
Download Formats
Additional informationPDF (NFER Statistical Neighbour Practioner User Guide)
Additional informationPDF (NFER Final Report)
Additional informationPDF (This document summarises the changes to all Local Authorities' neighbour sets resulting from the Local Government Reorganisation of April 2009)
Additional informationEXCEL (Children's Services Statistical Neighbour Benchmarking Tool - Outcome Indicators updated 4 January 2012 - Road Traffic Accidents (2010); KS2 Level 4+ (2011 Revised); Offending by Looked after Children (2011))
Additional informationEXCEL (As the tool includes outcome indicators it is likely it will be updated fairly frequently as new information becomes available. This additional spreadsheet provides a version log of changes to the tool so users can keep track of any changes and decide if they need to download the full model again)
Reference IDNFER/2007
Coverage Country England
Date Released9 April 2009
Main Category Children, Education and Skills
Sub CategoryCare    Click on subcategory link to see if there is later information
Local Government
TypeOther Statistics
ContactAlexandra Sarikaki  tel: 0207 340 8112

To access this publication click on the links next to "Download Formats" above