Re-thinking the English indices of multiple deprivation

Power to Change commissioned the Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance (BCEF) of the University of the West of England (UWE) to review what insights on disadvantage the current English IMD offers, how these insights fit with the Power to Change mission, and ‘good practice’ in filling the gaps between the insights of the existing IMD and that mission.

To work out what Power to Change needs the IMD indicator to do, we ran two workshops with Power to Change and members of its research advisory panel. We also reviewed published documentation from Power to Change. From these discussions and our reading, we tried to interpret what Power to Change needs from the IMD.

The English IMD needs to be thought of not as a single measure of disadvantage but as an indicator system that identifies disadvantaged places across multiple dimensions. This review suggests that the use of the top-line IMD indicator may not be appropriate for Power to Change’s mission but a flexible use of the indicator system, tailored to Power to Change’s mission, is appropriate. Currently, Power to Change appears to focus mainly on the topline IMD indicator and thus is not using the IMD indicator system in a way that squeezes the most useful insights out of it.