A data led investigation into the causes and consequences of poverty


Policy in Practice is bringing councils together to change the way we think about poverty and homelessness. Tracking living standards for half a million households over two years shows that:

  • Poverty is not static: Almost one-third of households moved into or out of work in the first year
  • Financial resilience must take expenditure into account: This captures more households in work and who need support

The project shows it is possible for local authorities to work together in an intelligent and joined up way. Tracking households over time allows policymakers to ask a different set of questions, and determine what support is effective.

The evidence base from this project is a powerful tool, influencing Whitehall and Westminster. We believe it deserves an audience outside of London.

To learn more contact hello@policyinpractice.co.uk.

Phase 1

Summary report

Phase 1

Full report

Phase 2

Summary due January 2018. Email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk to receive updates.

About the project

Data can tell us what impact national and local policies are having on low income households and help us design interventions that work better for people.

Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to support the most vulnerable people and the data they hold can help us better understand the drivers of poverty in London.

Supported by Trust for London Policy in Practice has embarked on an ambitious project to track changing living standards for almost one million Londoners over the course of two years, on a monthly basis.

Our household level approach uses council’s anonymised data and lets us track income, employment and poverty for half a million low income households over time.

Phase one of the 18 month project is now complete. To date we’ve combined data from 14 London boroughs to track changes across 444,000 low income households. Over 550,000 adults and 350,000 children live in these households, representing 27% of the overall population living in these boroughs.

For more details email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk or call 0330 088 9242.

Phase 1 headine findings

  • Outer London boroughs are more heavily impacted by welfare reforms
  • An effective measure of living standards should take needs into account
  • Tracking employment patterns shows disability is the greatest barrier
  • The benefit cap disproportionally affecs temporary accommodation

Phase 2 included analysis on:

Causal links between the benefit cap and employment or temporary accommodation

Drivers of living standards, why some people can escape poverty and others cannot

Predictive analysis showing the outlook in 2020, taking into account the impact of planned policy changes on family’s living standards.