South West Observatory

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South West Observatory
Abbreviation SWO
Formation 2002
Legal status Regional Data and Intelligence Resource - Core Unit Company Ltd by Guarantee
Purpose To provide data and analysis for decision makers
Region served
South West (England)
Prof Martin Boddy (University of the West of England)
Managing Director
Vinita Nawathe[1]
Affiliations South West RDA, Government Office for the South West, Office for National Statistics (ONS), Association for Regional Observatories (ARO)
Website South West Observatory Website

The South West Observatory (SWO) is a regional resource for the South West of England, originally established by the former South West Regional Development Agency,[2] Government Office for the South West,[3] and the South West Regional Assembly (now South West Councils[4]) as a partnership for use by policy-makers to aid and improve evidence-based decision-making.

The South West Observatory is one of seven Regional Observatories operating in the English regions. Not all Observatories operate in the same way and are at different stages of development.[5][6]

Structure and funding

The SWO is a network of analysts working together at the regional and sub-regional levels to provide timely and accurate information about the region. The SWO network comprises "Thematic Modules" which cover various cross-cutting policy themes and "Local Intelligence Networks" (LINs) which focus on specific geographies. The SWO's structure differs from that of other Regional Observatories. At the centre of the South West Observatory is a Core Unit which coordinates and facilitates network activity. This is based in Taunton, Somerset. The SWO works with a broad range of regional and national partners on many issues.

The SWO also works within a wider network of regional agencies, government departments and academics. This includes the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Regional Presence.

Key publications

Every year the SWO produces a report entitled Changing State of the South West. Published online annually and as a hard copy every three years, this report details the facts and figures behind life in the South West. As of mid-2012, the latest edition was published in March 2012.[8]


  1. "About Us". South West Observatory (SWO). Retrieved 2012-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Yorkshire Futures: Regional Observatories Yorkshire Futures/Regional Observatories
  6. Hansard: Questions to the Deputy Prime Minister
  7. South West Observatory: Local Intelligence Networks
  8. "Changing State of the South West 2012". South West Observatory (SWO). Retrieved 2012-06-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links