Review of targets and indicators for health and social care in Scotland

Independent national review into targets and indicators for health and social care.

Socioeconomic indicators

94. These indicators are attempts to measure progress on tackling inequality and, as such, are at the heart of efforts to improve wellbeing.

Improved self-assessed general health ( NPF)

Improve people's perceptions of their neighbourhood ( NPF)

Improve access to suitable housing options for those in housing need ( NPF)

Reduce crime victimisation rates ( NPF)

Improve people's perceptions about the crime rate in their area ( NPF)

Reduce the proportion of individuals living in poverty ( NPF)

Reduce the proportion of employees earning less than the living wage ( NPF)

Improve the responsiveness of public services ( NPF)

95. Experience of poverty, exposure to crime, negative perceptions of one's housing and neighbourhood will have an adverse effect on mental health and self-assessed general health. For some groups, such as disabled people, immigrants for whom English is not their native language or other groups who may feel excluded from wider society, extra efforts should be made to assess their experience since they may well have specific issues. Some of these indicators will be improved by environmental action to improve housing, clean up neighbourhoods and improve amenities in an area. However, poverty reduction is the principal task if we are to improve socioeconomic indicators. There is growing interest in the concept of "the Citizen's Wage" and The Economist has suggested in the past that "the most efficient way to relieve poverty is to give poor people money." Several studies have shown that the cost of such an intervention is outweighed by the savings to the public sector in terms of reduced demand. However, such a programme is beyond the scope of this review.

96. All of the indicators mentioned can contribute to a flourishing, healthy population. However, specific actions to improve them seem to happen piecemeal with different organisations trying different projects. Sharing of information on effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving self-assessed health, perceptions of crime etc. needs to happen more effectively.

97. Some evidence points to the responsiveness of public services as being critical to creating a sense of control in individuals struggling with socioeconomic adversity. Communities in which public services engage with people effectively to meet their needs experience transformational improvements in the type of indicators mentioned here. There is a growing interest in several deprived communities in Scotland in this approach.

98. Recommendation:

a) Scottish Government, working closely with Local Government and Health Boards, Police Scotland and other agencies should commission interventions aimed at testing new ways of meeting needs in families living in difficult circumstances with a view to assessing the cost effectiveness and transformational potential of such interventions.


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