An asset-based approach for communities for better joined-up care

Every area has the potential to achieve more through the effective use of all the skills, knowledge and assets available within communities, including the public, private and voluntary sectors.

This is known as an asset-based approach, where the emphasis is on people’s and communities’ assets, alongside their needs.

Policy-makers, local authorities, the NHS and other providers of public services are looking to broaden their offer by tapping into the wealth of resources, capabilities and networks that are the natural fabric of the communities they serve. The aim is to signpost people to, and connect them with the types of support that are more appropriately provided by the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.

Based on emerging evidence, SCIE suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all method of designing and implementing an asset-based approach (see Asset based places: a model for development ). At its core, it starts with the individual person and place seeking to identify and build upon existing strengths, rather than impose an external framework or preconceptions of what is required to facilitate change.


Five key enablers or building blocks can support local areas in implementing an asset-based approach.

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Leaders have an important role to play

Leaders within local government and the NHS have an important role to play. This is covered more fully in How to lead and manage better care. Key areas include:

Providers should develop a clear strategy for building community capacity and assetbased approaches, which could include investing in schemes such as local area coordination, time-banking, befriending, community navigation, community circles, peer support and volunteering. Providers should also consider the role of communities in a workforce development strategy, focusing on the role of carers.

The use of digital technology, blended with offline support, is a powerful tool to support a community-centred approach – from the basics of using social media to the development of community platforms to engage, share information, provide peer support and enable collective action.

Case studies

Examples of applying a community-centred approach in practice include the following:

Tools and resources

How to... work together to achieve better joined-up care
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