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South West Observatory

'Important decisions should be based on the best available evidence'

The South West Observatory (SWO) works towards this vision by drawing together research, resources and analysis from its network of individuals and organisations working across policy themes and from different local areas in the South West. We do this to build a clearer understanding of the issues affecting people living and working in this part of the country to support and inform policy and decision makers.

SWO is a jointly-owned intelligence resource, enabling better decision making by: 

Local Analysis


South West Local Profiles
Click on an area to access information about its population, economy, skills, health, environment and more...
PlymouthTorbayBournemouthBristolSouth GloucestershireGloucestershireWiltshireSwindonCornwall

News from SWO


  • West of England Quarterly Reports & Survey
    Through the West of England LEP website you'll now find the Executive Summary to the West of England LEP Quarterly Economic Bulletin and the Barriers to Growth Survey Report. These documents are available to download from the LEP website at http://www.westofenglandlep.co.uk/about-us/economic-intelligence/reports-and-surveys 02/05/2013
  • Business West's Quarterly Economic Survey
    Access the latest Quarterly Economic Survey results for the South West, compiled by Business West. The Business West quarterly survey provides a regular assessment on the economic situation of local business and is a valuable source of intelligence for businesses, politicians and policy makers. On a national level, results from the survey feed into the British Chambers quarterly survey, recognised as the largest and most representative independent business survey. There were 537 responses... 24/04/2013
  • PMI Report highlights decline in business activity for second successive month
    Business activity in the South West private sector declined for the second successive month in March. However, the rate of reduction was fractional. New business also fell for the second month in a row, and at a modest pace. Backlogs of work declined solidly, while staff numbers fell only marginally. Output charges were raised at the strongest rate in 18 months. For more download the latest Markit / Lloyds TSB PMI Report for the South West. 15/04/2013
  • Latest Culture Module Finding the Dots
    Read the Culture Module's latest April edition of Finding the Dots, with lots on cultural research and policy developments. Please email any feedback or questions to 14/04/2013
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State of the South West 2012


Changing State of the South West 2012
Click to access the report

Since 2004, SWO has drawn together expertise from across its modules and academia to produce the State of the South West report. The report describes recent trends and highlights key challenges and issues faced by this part of the country. Over the years, the publication has proved a valuable way to understand the make-up of the region, and has provided a snapshot that also allows comparison over time.

The State of the South West has to-date been published in a three year cycle, it is updated annually online and a What’s Changed? document is usually produced in year three. The State of the South West 2010 was published in March 2010. In May of the same year, the election of the Coalition Government started a process of significant Public Sector reform. A key theme of the Coalition’s Programme for Government was a move away from regionalism to localism.

This has led to the loss of a number of organisations and working arrangements, and the emergence of new structures aimed at driving local growth and priorities. In view of the widespread nature of the reform underway, we have chosen to produce a slightly different publication this year: The Changing State of the South West. As well as assessing and highlighting key regional
information about their topics, we asked contributors to comment on the policy context relevant to their sector, and (where possible) on what might happen next in this rapidly changing policy environment.

With widespread change in all areas impacting on the work we do or the way we do it, understanding and applying evidence has never been more important. We hope that you find the Changing State of the South West 2012 a useful publication in informing your opinions and decisions and that it contributes to the shared understanding of the South West that SWO seeks to promote.

STATE OF THE SOUTH WEST DATA
The chart below is drawn from the Changing State of the South West which brings together a snapshot of regional data from a range of sources and puts them in 2012’s policy context. This chart refreshes on each visit.

Click on the chart below to find out more.

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