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Building community capacity: the economic case in adult social care in England

Author(s)

PERSONAL SOCIAL SERVICES RESEARCH UNIT

Publisher(s):

NIHR School for Social Care Research

Publication year:

2015

This briefing summarises the findings of a study to establish the costs, outputs and outcomes of a number of four best practice community capacity-building projects, especially in relation to their potential for alleviating pressures on adult social care budgets and in the context of current policy interests. All projects worked under financial uncertainties and these challenges highlighted a poor fit between third sector infrastructures and the public sector’s growing requirements for targeted, evidence-based investments. The four projects evaluated comprised support services for people with disabilities, a help-at-home scheme for older people, a training scheme to produce local health champions and a peer-support project for people with mental health issues. Such third sector approaches may postpone or replace formal social care, but projects found it difficult to meet demands for data, whether for making a business case or for the purposes of research. The study found that well-targeted schemes have the potential to produce both benefits to participants and substantial savings to public agencies. Yet the current commissioning context tends to encourage organisations to focus on established priorities rather than to develop innovative, community-based services. (Edited publisher abstract)


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