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JSNA – Thriving

Barnet will be a place fit for the future, where all residents, businesses and visitors benefit from improved sustainable infrastructure & opportunity. Thriving town centres, provide a well-supported framework enabling residents seeking to achieve their economic potential and opportunities for them to participate in their communities, support others and help to develop the voluntary organisations which we work with.

The economic position of residents is central to achieving good health and wellbeing. For example, unemployment is associated with an increased risk of ill health and mortality. There are relationships between unemployment and poor mental health and suicide, higher self-reported ill health and limiting long term illness as well as a higher prevalence of risky health behaviours including alcohol use and smoking.

Links between unemployment and poor mental health have been explained by the psychosocial effects of unemployment: stigma, isolation and loss of self-worth. People with long term psychiatric problems are less likely to be in employment than those with long-term physical disabilities. This is despite indications that most people with severe mental illness would like to work.

Benefit claimants

As of March 2020, the number of Out of Work benefits claimants has risen sharply in Barnet and has been higher than Great Britain’s but lower than London’s levels. Most recent statistics from June 2021 show that this number is slowly decreasing and stands at 6.6% in comparison to London’s 7.4% and Great Britain’s 5.6%. Barnet wards affected with the highest numbers of unemployment are Colindale, Burnt Oak and Child’s Hill.

The number of Universal Credit Claimants has more than doubled in the past fifteen months and is equal to 9.9% of Barnet’s population. The most affected wards are again Colindale, Burnt Oak and Child’s Hill with Hendon, Golder’s Green, West Hendon and Woodhouse following closely behind.

Employment and Support Allowance claimants

This is defined as the percentage of the population aged 16-64 years claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit (IB) or Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA).

For people claiming ESA, ill health or disability is a cause of being out of work, or severely limitations in work that can be undertaken. Although not working will be the right option for some of these people, remaining out of work longer term may contribute to a worsening of health outcomes for others. This is because a person’s employment status has both an associative and a causal relationship with a range of health outcomes. In Barnet the percentage of people claiming ESA is consistently lower than London and England.

Employment rate gap

The review “Is work good for your health and wellbeing” (2006) ( concluded that work was generally good for both physical and mental health and wellbeing, where appropriate, for the individual. The strategy for public health takes a life course approach and this measure provides a good indication of the impact limiting long-term illness has on employment among those in the “working well” life stage.

This can be gauged by the following three measures:

Gap in the employment -between those with a long-term health condition and the overall employment rate 

The measure is constructed by calculating the percentage points gap between the employment rate for those with a long-term condition and the population as a whole. In 2019/20 the gap is lower in Barnet (9.5) than in London (11.5) and England (10.6).

Gap in the employment -between those with a learning disability and the overall employment rate 

The indicator is constructed by calculating the percentage points gap between the yearly employment rate for adults in contact with learning disabilities, and the population as a whole. In 2019/20 the gap is lower in Barnet (66.7) than in London (68.1) and England (70.6).

Gap in the employment -for those in contact with secondary mental health services and the overall employment rate 

The indicator is then constructed by calculating the percentage points gap between the yearly employment rate for adults in contact with secondary mental health services, and the population as a whole. In 2019/20 the gap is equal in Barnet (68.1) to London’s one and higher than England’s (67.2).

Percentage of people aged 16-64 in employment 

This is defined as the number of people who are in employment (either as an employee, self-employed, in government employment and training programmes or an unpaid family worker – ILO definition of basic economic activity) and are of working age (16-64). This number has been gradually rising in Barnet over the last few years and has been consistently lower than London’s and England’s. In 2019/20, Barnet’s level was equal to London’s (75.1) and lower than England’s (76.2).

16–17-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) or whose activity is not known 

Young people who are not in education, employment or training are at greater risk of a range of negative outcomes, including poor health, depression or early parenthood. This measure is included to encourage services to work together to support young people, particularly the most vulnerable, to engage in education, training and work. The Government recognises that increasing the participation of young people in learning and employment not only makes a lasting difference to individual lives but is also central to the Government’s ambitions to improve social mobility and stimulate economic growth.

The percentage of 16–17-year-olds NEET is consistently lower in Barnet, and in 2019 it dropped further to 1.52%. This is lower than London’s 4.2% and England’s 5.5%.

Sickness Absence

The independent review of sickness absence was commissioned by Government to help combat the 140 million days annually lost to sickness. The review provided an important analysis of the sickness absence system in the UK; of the impact of sickness absence on employers, the State and individuals; and of the factors which cause and prolong sickness. Adopting a life-course approach and including a focus on the working-age population in the “working well” stage to help people with health conditions to stay in or return to work is important to building sustainable communities.

The two measures used are:

-Sickness absence – the percentage of employees who had at least one day off in the previous week. For Barnet, the percentage of 1.1 was nearly half of London’s 2.0 and England’s 2.1.

-Sickness absence – the percentage of working days lost due to sickness absence. This number puts Barnet (0.97) between London’s (0.89) and England’s (1.09)

Number of Businesses 

To be added

Social Isolation

There is a clear link between loneliness and poor mental and physical health. A key element of the Government’s vision for social care is to tackle loneliness and social isolation, supporting people to remain connected to their communities and to develop and maintain connections to their friends and family. This measure will draw on self-reported levels of social contact as an indicator of social isolation for both users of social care and carers.

The social care users’ measures are divided into two age groups of 18+ and 65+. When it comes to 18+ the percentage of social care users who have as much social contact as they would like in Barnet (42.2) is similar to London’s (42.9) but lower than England’s (45.9). However, for ages 65+ this percentage in Barnet (41.9) is higher than London’s (40.1) and lower than England’s (43.3).

When it comes to percentage of adult carers who have as much social contact as they would like in the 18+ group, the number is much lower in Barnet (22.3) than London’s (33.2) and England’s (32.5). This can be also seen in the age group 65+, where only 29.2% of Barnet adult carers are happy with the level of their social interaction in comparison to London’s 34.3% and England’s 34.5%. 

Mean score of the 14 WEMWBS statements at age 15 

People with higher well-being have lower rates of illness, recover more quickly, live longer, and generally have better physical and mental health. It is felt that economic measures e.g., Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are necessary, but not sufficient, to reflect a nation’s overall progress or well-being. There has been increasing interest in the UK and around the world in using wider measures to monitor well-being and evaluate policy. This includes measures of society and the environment, alongside economic measures.

The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) is formed of statements covering a range of feelings and attitudes towards life. When it was last measured, Barnet had higher levels of satisfaction of life than London and England.

Text Last Updated: 09.09.21