Neighbourhood management – which involves identifying and delivering services at a local level - has improved the quality of life for residents in some of the most deprived areas of the City of Westminster, new research by the University of Westminster has shown.

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The University’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (SABE) recently completed an evaluation of the “unique” approach to neighbourhood management (NM) in Westminster.

The study - funded jointly by the Paddington Development Trust (PDT) which is contracted to deliver NM in three of the most deprived areas of Westminster - found that NM had proved effective in targeting resources to lead to an improved quality of life.

Research was carried out in January and February of this year by Professor Nick Bailey of SABE and Dr Madeleine Pill, of Cardiff University’s School of City and Regional Planning.

Professor Bailey said: “Our research showed that this model of NM has undoubtedly had a positive impact on securing better quality-of-life outcomes in the City. NM in Westminster seeks to ‘get the detail right’ by facilitating sometimes small changes in service provision that tangibly increase quality of life.

“What is particularly distinctive about the Westminster model is the role of the PDT in the governance of NM, given its ability and credibility to act as an intermediary between residents and statutory partners.”

The research methodology involved an analysis of data relating to NM in England and interviews with key NM partners in the City of Westminster. These included Westminster City Council officers and members, the Police and NHS Westminster. Interviews were also conducted with residents and other bodies engaged on NM Boards, and with NM staff members, with a particular focus on neighbourhood management in Church Street, Westminster.

The study found that contributing factors in successfully improving the quality of life for residents included: the quality, expertise and motivation of the officer teams; support, guidance and direction from PDT; significant support from ward members and executive members in City Hall and other statutory partners.

“We were particularly impressed with the way the council and other service providers are working closely with local residents to meet a clear set of social, economic and environmental needs in areas of great cultural diversity. Westminster has developed a unique approach to NM that compares very favourably with others in the UK,” added Professor Bailey.

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