Children & Young People

The background

The purpose of the Children and Young People Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) section is to support the work of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board by summarising key local needs, and services, and providing a series of evidence-based priorities to improve the health of the local population of people aged 0-19. It acts as a useful reference to inform high quality and co-ordinated local commissioning and provision of services shaped to the needs of their users, as well as to inform the wider council and members of the public.1

It sets out the key needs and issues of the local population, and makes a series of evidence-based recommendations to improve health and wellbeing, and to reduce inequalities. Bedford Borough’s overall score for deprivation (using the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation) relative to all other local authorities in England, puts it in the 4th least deprived decile. Where possible, Bedford Borough is compared to local authorities of similar deprivation (e.g. Derbyshire, Kent, Suffolk, and Reading).

Timeliness of data

The data featured is for the last applicable full year (calendar, academic or business) prior to publication, unless otherwise stated. The detailed analysis was published in 2021, meaning the data is predominantly from 2019/20. For more data, see the Dashboard, which was published in 2023.

Finding the information you need

The summarised data behind the Children and Young People chapter. This includes data on fertility, birth and infant mortality rates, details on smoking during pregnancy, birth weight, school attainment, childhood obesity and hospital admissions, by ward where possible.

Executive summary

A high-level summary of the major data and policy trends associated with pregnancy, birth, the early development and school years of Bedford’s children and young people. This includes:

  • A high level summary of the local picture for Children and Young people, followed by summary of each individual section
  • Snapshot infographics featuring the most significant measures of the health and well-being of the .
  • Priority actions that explain the requirements needed to bring about the changes identified to improve health outcomes for the older people of Bedford Borough.

Detailed analysis

This section includes further analyses the factors that impact on the health of children and young people by life stage:

  • Stage 1: Healthy Pregnancy, which includes: smoking, obesity, mental health and teenage parents, as well as access to maternity care and infant mortality.
  • Stage 2: Healthy Birth and Early Years, which examines breastfeeding, development to the age of 5, hospital admissions, adverse childhood experiences and preventable diseases.
  • Stage 3: School-Aged Years. This covers excess weight, vaccinations, health-affecting risk-taking behaviours, as well as Mental health, LGBTQ+ and personal, social and health education.

Coming soon: A final section will examine the Specific Vulnerabilities affecting children and young people in detail.

Also look out for:

The impact of COVID
This includes both the direct impact of COVID on key health-related indicators, and the indirect impact on wider determinants.

Areas of continued focus
These are high level objectives that have previously been identified as priorities and that remain important to delivering better health outcomes for the children and young people of Bedford Borough.

Priority actions
These are more specific requirements that are needed to bring about the changes needed to improve health outcomes for Bedford Borough’s children and young people.

We welcome your feedback on what you find useful and what other information you think would help understanding this important subject. Please contact us on [email protected]


  1. Department of Health. 2011. Joint strategic needs assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategies explained. Available at: [Accessed 11 December 2020].