The Centre's focus is on the concept and measurement of poverty, especially in small areas and over time. Its contribution is the
culmination of nearly two decades pioneering use of administrative data to study deprivation. Between 1996 - 1998 the group developed this
data to study three major issues:
- Lone mothers moving on and off benefits (funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), using 'dynamic estimation' techniques based on longitudinally linked extracts of administrative data;
- A study of welfare benefit take-up among minority ethnic groups (also funded by JRF), and
- A novel approach to the study of rural poverty (funded by Action for Communities in Rural England).
Since 1998, the research has taken off nationally. SDRC secured the release by government of large amounts of national administrative
data, and won a major DETR contract to revise the national index of deprivation for England. This resulted in the construction of the Indices of Deprivation 2000 (ID 2000). Following on from this, Indices of Deprivation were constructed for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The research constitutes a major step forward in the use of administrative data. The ID 2000, for example, has been widely used to allocate resources both by central and local government as well as by voluntary bodies and charities. It has also been employed by academics and others for policy related research. Click here for examples
to construct ward level population estimates, necessary as denominators for deprivation measures, have been acknowledged as 'path breaking'
by academic demographers. ONS accepted them as the 'official' way forward until the 2001 Census was released.
As a result of work on the ID 2000, and the contribution that members of SDRC made to the Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team 18, ONS launched its new Neighbourhood Statistics, to which SDRC has contributed data.
The centre?s latest research concentrates on longitudinal analysis of administrative data. The Social Exclusion Unit and the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the Rowntree Foundation have funded work to explore changing patterns of poverty using historical time series and longitudinal analysis of specially commissioned extracts from DSS/DWP major benefit systems. Current work is applying these techniques to evaluate ,the impact of major government social programmes on disadvantaged areas for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Department for Education and Skills, and HM Treasury.
The SDRC has also extended its work to South Africa, with a major research and development initiative supported by both the South African and UK governments. The SDRC was invited to support the South African Government's Commission carrying out a Review of Social Security, whose key members attended an SDRC symposium in Oxford (in December 2000) with UK social security experts. Further work to extend the collaboration, including long-term evaluation of the impact of the SA reforms, has been secured from DIFD. Work in respect of HIV/AIDS and poverty in the Eastern Cape is being undertaken collaboratively
with the University of the Western Cape and is funded by USAID. The group's interest in child poverty and associated family dislocation has resulted in collaboration with the Socio-Legal Centre at University of Cape Town.
The group works collaboratively and outputs are co-authored. Doctoral students play an important role within the centre. The centre is undertaking collaborative research with London School of Economics, Manchester University, Queen's University Belfast, and University of Cape Town, South Africa.