2015 Dependability Index

This is our study  that comprises of a combination of all the national and regional data on crime, schools, poverty, fire services, planning and health. It is unique in encompassing both national government data and public opinion surveys to pinpoint the best place to live in England.

The majority of people believe they simply don’t have a voice when it comes to how their local services are run. The first step to address this is to give everyone a clear picture of the standard of service they are receiving.


Top scoring places to live in England

Dorset is the best place to live in England according to a uniquely comprehensive study of vital services carried out by B.heard.
B.heard’s Dependability Index, which is based on a wealth of data points from a variety of regulatory sources, includes crime rates, schools, fire services, planning and health. It found Dorset scored highly across the board, including the third best GP satisfaction score and the fourth greatest proportion of schools receiving Ofsted’s top rating, Outstanding.
The remaining regions making up the top 10 include
  1. Dorset
  2. North Yorkshire
  3. Gloucestershire
  4. Surrey
  5. Cheshire
  6. Northumbria
  7. Hampshire
  8. Hertfordshire
  9. Cumbria, and
  10. Warwickshire
North Yorkshire was found to be a close second in the overall rankings, with England’s lowest crime rate and highest satisfaction with GPs. However, it was shown to be a potentially dangerous place to be caught in a house fire, coming 24th out of 38 regions for number of fire staff per household intensity, and 16th for its schools.

Low scoring places to live in England

Humberside was found to be the worst region to live for essential services overall, ranking second worst for schools and third worst for number of fire staff.
Northamptonshire, Essex, the West Midlands, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent, London and Lincolnshire make up the remaining 10 worst places to live.
Londoners are most at risk of becoming a victim of crime, with 84 offences per 1,000 people, while the capital also had the lowest rate of patient satisfaction with GPs and ranked second worst at providing for homeless people. London’s schools were its saving grace, with the greatest proportion of schools receiving Ofsted’s highest rating.


The unique B.heard study is the first to combine nationally published stats on essential public services with the results of public opinion surveys, comparing people's perceptions with statistical information used by the government.
An additional study conducted by B.heard among a representative sample of 1,000 adults found that most people (61%) believe they either have a weak voice or no voice at all when it comes to how their local services – including doctors, schools and fire services – are run.
This ‘voice poverty’ was highest in the South West and the East of the country, with 69% of people believing they had a weak voice or no voice at all in both regions.
Our methodology document can be read here.

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