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CoTA Viewer of Worklessness, April 2013

Released: 11 April 2013 Download PDF

Change over Time Analysis (CoTA) Viewer is a visual tool, with accompanying Excel worksheets, which assists the analysis of change over time for small areas. In this version, changes in worklessness data from 2001 to 2011 can be analysed for LSOAs in England. Users can explore benefit claimants data for Out-of-work, Jobseekers, Lone Parent, Other Income Related benefits or Incapacity benefits and see how this has changed over time at various geographic levels.

The April 2013 version includes updated data for 2011.

The analysis which can be undertaken with the data will be of particular interest to those who wish to answer the following questions:

  • Has a local authority changed compared with others in the region?

  • Has there been much change within a local authority and which LSOAs have experienced significant change?

  • Is the gap closing between the most disadvantaged LSOAs and the rest within a local authority? Is this gap significant?

To use the CoTA Viewer of Worklessness, users should first download the CoTA Viewer Visualisation Tool (11.12 Mb ZIP)  and unzip/extract these to an area on a hard drive or network share. Then open the 'index' html file.

There is also an Excel workbook (11.33 Mb ZIP) which contains the data and allows for similar statistical tests to be undertaken, and which may be useful to those wishing to access the underlying data and statistical tests that underlie the CoTA Viewer. CoTA Viewer has it's own User Guide (939.5 Kb Pdf) to help with using the tool.

Strategy for analysing change over time

Identifying change is a critical part of developing and monitoring policies for small areas. A good understanding of change can help when targetting policies or resources, or checking whether existing policies are having the desired effect.

A range of data about small areas is available through websites such as Neighbourhood Statistics - but the process of analysing and understanding change brings a range of issues and needs real care.

We have developed a guide to Analysing Change over Time for Small Areas (1.81 Mb Pdf) which provides:

  • An outline of the main issues.

  • A 5-stage strategy for analysis.

  • A range of suggested methods to use.

  • A case study demonstrating the approach.

The five stage strategy

  1. Select your data.

  2. Understand the context of your analysis.

  3. Split your area into groups for analysis.

  4. Understand how the groups are changing.

  5. Test the significance of change for individual small areas.

The guide aims to help answer questions such as "has my area improved since last year?" or "is the gap between our disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged areas reducing?"

We have also produced a six-page Summary Guide to the strategy which introduces the key concepts. You may also find the Flow Diagram (78.7 Kb Pdf) useful as it outlines the main steps of the strategy.

We appreciate your feedback so please email Better Info if you have any queries or views. Alternatively, contact us at the following address:

Area Based Analysis Team
Room 4200E
Office for National Statistics
Segensworth Road
PO15 5RR

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.