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Jonathon Bradshaw


Bradshaw developed The Taxomony of Needs to help services understand the
different ways in which needs are perceived, expressed and measured. It allows
the different types of need to be taken into account when planning services.
However, Bradshaw reminds us that The Taxomony won’t provide a perfect fit,
because needs are not only personal, they are also subjective to environment and
they change over time.

Normative needs

These needs are defined by the expert. They are measurable against standards. If
you don’t fit the standard then you are not in need.


Felt needs

These needs are defined by what the individual wants, but they are often
unexpressed. They are defined by social circumstance and personal perception.


Expressed needs

When a group or individual asks for their ‘felt need’ to be met, it then becomes an
‘expressed need’.


Comparative need

When an identified need is used as a measure to define need across a wider
population or community. It highlights those with similar needs who are not yet
receiving services.

Need, demand and supply:
influences and overlaps


Further Resources

You can read more about Taxonomy of Needs in ‘Jonathan Bradshaw on Social Policy: Selected Writings 1972-2011’. Edited by Richard Cookson, Roy Sainsbury and Caroline Glendinning. Click the image above to read this.

Taxonomy of Needs

Connected themes

Connected theories


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