Birmingham City Outcome Indicators21 November 2022
We have published the Birmingham City Outcome Indicators, but what are these and why do they matter?
Metrics can provide a useful snapshot of our city, though at stake is our tendency to critique often complex issues through the lens of comparisons and ranks. It is therefore important to recognise the spatial and temporal context behind the data itself.
Hence in antithesis, metrics also reveal what we do not know and what more we may want to know in order to better understand and respond to problems.
Statistics can illuminate matters in need of reform within our jurisdiction. If there are disparities in educational attainment, increases in unemployment, inequalities in health and surges in crime, then these trends will inevitably have a bearing on how we think through solutions and distribute our resources locally.
One of the public policy challenges of our time is the rebuilding of public trust. Indicators can make transparent the realities of our environment which we have a right to know about, particularly what is working well and what is not. They are thus integral to the delivery of institutional and individual responsibility, as well as the collective galvanising of shared interests in building a prosperous, healthy, green, inclusive and safe metropolis.
We explore primarily two types of indicators: the objective and subjective. The former has its roots in economics and concentrates on resources, whilst the latter is derived from questionnaires that ask one to appraise their interiority. Together, they offer partial insights into “the city on the ground and the city in the mind”.
Nevertheless, each has limitations. Objective metrics that proclaim improvement gloss over the experiences of those left on the margins, whilst subjective measures dissociate individuals from the intricacies of the space they occupy.
Furthermore, how are indicators formed? What should be measured? What must each measurement represent? Whose experiences are captured? Let us investigate the answers to these questions together.
Written by Shivani Singh