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The Audit Commission (UK) has published (August 2005) a set of indicators intended to help councils and their partners to paint a picture of the quality of life in specific local areas.

According to the Audit Commission Press release "Quality of life indicators are a useful voluntary tool to see how local areas are performing economically, environmentally and socially. They cover aspects of community safety, the environment and other measures that contribute to the development of genuinely sustainable communities as set out in Securing the Future, the government's recently published Sustainable Development Strategy.

For the first time, a definitive set of measures have been identified by the Audit Commission, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). Previously these indicators were held separately by several public sector bodies.

Forty-five indicators will measure the quality of life in individual localities and the effectiveness of local sustainable community strategies, which are also closely linked to national sustainable development indicators.

This single set of indicators will help local authorities and their partners to:

  • paint a picture of quality of life issues locally;
  • stimulate debate and raise public awareness;
  • inform local sustainable community strategies and local area agreements; and
  • monitor change and assess and evaluate progress over time."

"Changes to the way that quality of life is measured will reduce the burden on local authorities and their partners since they will no longer be required to collect data themselves. The single set of quality of life indicators, outlined in this document, relies on existing national information collected by a range of government agencies. They will be made available on the Audit Commission website and will allow local authorities and their partners to:

  • compare performance between different areas;
  • review, justify and set local objectives and priorities; and
  • enhance partnership working, shared ownership and joint action."

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