New Profile of Severe and Multiple Disadvantage in England

New research reveals the profile of severe and multiple disadvantage in England

Lankelly Chase with Heriot-Watt University has released the most robust research to date on severe and multiple disadvantage In England.  Hard Edges: Mapping Severe and Multiple Disadvantage in England draws together previously separate datasets from homelessness, offending and substance misuse treatment systems. It also takes into account available data around mental health and poverty.   It delivers the latest and most comprehensive statistics on people facing severe and multiple disadvantage: where they live, what their lives are like, how effectively they are supported by services, and the economic implications of the disadvantages they face.

Lankelly Chase calls for far-reaching changes to address this issue from Government, local authorities and the voluntary sector.

Key headlines reveal:

  • There is a huge overlap between the offender, substance misusing and homeless populations.  For example, two thirds of people using homeless services are also either in the criminal justice system or in drug treatment in the same year.
  • Local authorities which report the highest rates of people facing severe and multiple disadvantage are mainly in the North of England, seaside towns and certain central London boroughs. However, even in the richest areas, there is no part of England that is untouched by the issue of severe and multiple disadvantage.
  • People found in homelessness, drug treatment and criminal justice systems are predominantly white men aged 25-44
  • As children, many experienced trauma and neglect, poverty, family breakdown and disrupted education. As adults, many suffer alarming levels of loneliness, isolation, unemployment, poverty and mental ill-health. All of these experiences are considerably worse for those in overlapping populations.
  • The majority are in contact with or are living with children.

Julian Corner, CEO of Lankelly Chase said,

“This research reveals the true extent of overlap between the homeless, offender and drug misusing populations. It makes a nonsense of the separate strategies that have been pursued by Government departments and agencies, who have thought and acted as if they weren’t dealing with the same people. I welcome recent initiatives on multiple disadvantage in the voluntary sector, such as Making Every Adult MatterFulfilling Lives and Lankelly Chase’s own Promoting Change Network. But as the Autumn Statement acknowledged, statutory agencies in particular need to change radically if they are going to catch up with the reality of the people they serve.”

Darren Murinas, Vice Chair of Stoke Expert Citizens and a man who has lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage welcomed the launch of ‘Hard Edges’, saying

“I recognise the lives described in this report.  I’ve lived it myself.  I was lucky.  I got the help I needed to become a clean, sober and responsible citizen after a childhood of neglect and a lifetime of crime. I am really glad that LankellyChase foundation is focussed on this issue and continues to relentlessly ask questions about why more progress is not being made to help all who need it become engaged citizens of their communities.  Change is possible.  But only if the system recognises it needs radical change.”

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick of Heriot-Watt University said,

“The research shows the damaging cumulative effects of multiple disadvantage.  As researchers it also demonstrated to us the sometimes patchy and intermittent nature of data collection and tracking of outcomes by agencies. Policy makers and service providers should think systemically about how to ensure that data collection reflects the full, complex picture of service users so that their needs can be met in a coordinated way.”

This report is the first of a series of Lankelly Chase investigations into severe and multiple disadvantage. We are currently undertaking an ambitious enquiry into the very different profile of severe and multiple disadvantage faced by women and girls. We are also working with partners to profile how multiple disadvantage affects Black, Asian and minority ethnic people.

Links to the Summary and Full reports can be found here:

Full Report, LANJ2803_Mapping_multiple_disadvantages_Summary_16.01.15_WEB, Appendices; Hard Edges

The presentation given by Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick on 21st January 2015 can be found here: Hard Edges: Manchester 2015 Presentation.

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