Skip to main content

A postcode lottery? What does the Local Authority Interactive Tool tell us about the children in England today?

A postcode lottery? What does the Local Authority Interactive Tool tell us about the children in England today?

In April 2019, the Department for Education issued the latest version of its Local Authority Interactive Tool, which is described as ‘an interactive spreadsheet for comparing data about children and young people across all local authorities in England’. It contains a vast amount of information drawn from all the county and unitary authorities in England, which makes it quite hard to ‘see the wood for the trees’.

To make the picture a more comprehensible one, we have selected information from four local authorities to see how small changes to where a child lives can have a significant impact on the course of their life. North Yorkshire is England’s largest county. To the west, it borders Lancashire. Middlesbrough sits to the north-east and before local government reorganisation in 1974, was part of the old North Riding of Yorkshire. To the south, is the City of Bradford Metropolitan District. These are not widely distant areas of the country. Walk across the moors a few miles from Haworth to the trig point at Wolf Stones and you can stand at the meeting point of North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Bradford.

The first, rather startling, fact to emerge from the tables is that where you are born has a significant effect on your chance of celebrating your first birthday. The infant mortality tables show that infant deaths per 1,000 live births vary across the country from less than 2 to 7.8. For our selected areas, the figures are these:

Name of LA Rate of infant Mortality (2017) National Ranking

North Yorkshire


National Average 3.9  
Middlesbrough 4.7 116
Lancashire 4.7 116
Bradford 5.8 142


Essentially, a baby born in Bradford Royal Infirmary in 2017 was almost three times more likely to die in the first 12 months of life, than a baby born on the same day, 24 miles away in Harrogate District Hospital. Interestingly, in 2014, North Yorkshire’s infant mortality rate of 3.7 was only marginally less than the (then) national average of 4.0. Since that time, the national average has plateaued, whilst North Yorkshire’s rate for infant deaths has plunged. In Middlesbrough, on the other hand, after falling from above to below the national average from 2009 to 2013, rates then began to increase, peaking at 5.10 in 2016.

If we then examine what kind of family and home the child is joining, the statistics give details of children living in low-income families, although these are only published up to 2016:




Back to Blogs