Children and young people's JSNA

The JSNA is a collaborative exercise which illustrates the health, wellbeing needs and inequalities within a local population. It provides a source of information that can be used in making commissioning decisions to improve outcomes for the local population.

Further information

Leicester has a young population and the city is seeing major increases in the number of children and young people living here. The city is home to 130,726 children and young people aged up to 24 years, an increase of 12.5% since 2015, which is more than double the increase seen in England as a whole. This growth includes a big increase in the number of young children aged 0-4 years which rose by nearly 25% from 20,726 in 2005 to 25,884 in 2015.

Set against this backdrop, the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) looks at the health picture for children in the city. Life expectancy in Leicester is below the England average, with significant differences in how long people live according to where they live: many of the patterns for this are laid down in childhood. Children’s health and well-being is therefore not only important as a goal in itself but is a key priority to improving the overall health of the entire city.

The health profile, Snapshots and full JSNA for Leicester’s children are available as PDFs at the bottom of this page.

What is the purpose of the JSNA?

The purpose of the JSNA is to provide the underpinning information that is required for the effective commissioning of services. This JSNA is not an end in itself, but a continuous process of strategic assessment and planning – in order to improve health and reduce inequalities for CYP.

The outputs of this JSNA, in the form of evidence and the analysis of needs, should be used to help determine what actions LCC, Leicester City CCG and other partners need to take to meet the health and social care needs of CYP living in Leicester and to address the wider determinants that impact on health and wellbeing.

What approach has this JSNA taken?

In line with ‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’ (Marmot Review, 2010), the JSNA follows a life course approach which maps out how children’s health needs change as they grow and develop at different stage of their lives and includes the following chapters:

  1. Setting The Context
  2. Pre-birth to antenatal
  3. Early years (0-4 years)
  4. School years (5-19 years)
  5. Young Adulthood (20-24 years)
  6. Mental Health of Children and Young People
  7. Looked After Children
  8. Youth Offenders
  9. Vulnerable groups

Each of the chapters is summarised on the following webpages.

Highlights of This JSNA

This JSNA highlights a number of key challenges for children’s health and well-being:

Population profile

The city’s age profile contributes to its vibrancy and in the medium-term may mean that some of the challenges of an aging population take effect less rapidly than in other parts of the country. But it has also required the city to respond rapidly to meet this need, including additional demands for maternity services, health visiting and expanding school places.

Birth rate

There are around 5,100 births in Leicester each year, and the city’s birth rate is higher than for England as a whole. Although infant mortality rates are not significantly different from the England average, this varies across the city and rates are highest in the most deprived parts of Leicester.

Although the birth rate is stabilising, forecasts show that by 2025, the population of young people aged 0-24 will increase by a further 138,100 (an increase of 7.4% from 2014). This has been – and will continue to be – factored early into local planning.


Supporting women to be healthy during in pregnancy is also a key issue for the city as Leicester has higher obesity and smoking rates in pregnancy that the England average, with important consequences for both maternal and child health.

Deprivation has an important impact on children’s lives both in the short and long-term and there is a clear link between how long people live – and how good their health is – and deprivation. Leicester is ranked 21st out of 326 local authorities in England and 41% of Leicester’s population aged 0-15 years live within the 20% most deprived areas nationally. Continuing to tackle child poverty, improve educational attainment, boost jobs and the local economy will be crucial to improving the health of this generation’s children.

Protecting children

Like other cities with a similar socio-economic profile, Leicester faces significant challenges in effectively protecting children who experience neglect, family breakdown or crisis. Child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation are also key priorities locally: understanding the extent of these issues in the city as well as continuing to embed effective identification and management across agencies will be important to support a particularly vulnerable group of children.

Physical health

High rates of childhood obesity and poor oral health demonstrate the need for focused work to improve children’s diet and levels of physical activity across the city. This work will also help to reduce rising levels of Type II diabetes and other chronic diseases associated with obesity. Equally, parts of the city have high rates of children who are underweight which needs to be a local priority.

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is important for healthy development, and it is influenced by social and economic circumstances, the wider environment, individual and family characteristics. As a city with high rates of deprivation, inequality and variable attainment in school, the risk factors for poor mental health in Leicester’s children are high.

Youth offending

Children and young people at risk of offending or within the youth justice system often have more unmet health and social care needs than other children. It is therefore important that the needs of vulnerable children and young people (aged 10-17) at risk of offending are included in mainstream planning and commissioning.

Gypsies and Travellers

Gypsies and Travellers are a vulnerable group with the lowest life expectancy of any group in the UK. Leicester has a small population of Gypsies and Travellers, but their access to and uptake of important health services is poor.

Children's services

Services for children in the city are undergoing a period of change. This has included substantial reconfiguration and restructuring of many services provided by both local government and the NHS. Further changes are planned over the next few years, including proposed changes to maternity services. Although the JSNA does not make specific recommendations for service change, the JSNA provides important evidence about key health outcomes for children.