A clean sweep: delivering cleaner streets in diverse neighbourhoods

This project aimed to enhance the capacity of local authorities to deliver neighbourhood environmental services in ways that reflect diverse levels of need across residential neighbourhoods. It evidenced a  a clear national ‘problem’ in terms of a gap in neighbourhood cleanliness between affluent and more disadvantaged neighbourhoods.  By synthesising a range of data from national household surveys, Best Value performance indicators, national deprivation indices and local authority level budget and expenditure, the project undertook a ground breaking analysis of  the relationships between cleanliness outcomes, levels of need and service inputs at the small area level. In so doing, it identified a range of neighbourhood characteristics (physical, social and economic) which place some neighbourhoods more at risk of environmental degradation than others, and showed the how service provision related to these risk factors. In depth case studies in three local authorities revealed differences in the extent to which neighbourhood characteristics are taken into account in service planning and resource allocation, revealing forms of service provision practices which inadvertently favour better off (and cleaner neighbourhoods).  The analysis also revealed that the case study authority which did target service provision towards need achieved more equal cleanliness outcomes across its diverse neighbourhoods.

The project makes important contributions to understanding how public service provision relates to aspects of quality of life in neighbourhoods with different socio-economic and physical characteristics. It suggests that mainstream service provision can contribute to narrowing the gap between disadvantaged and better off neighbourhoods, and provides a number of policy and practice recommendations designed to further this agenda.





Joseph Rowntree Foundation