How Asset-Based Areas demonstrate cost effectiveness

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Asset-Based Areas take an approach to cost-effectiveness that go beyond just targeting outcomes narrowly defined by the sector to one that measures improvements in the whole lives of people and communities. They also track the use, and development of, assets of people and communities as well as those of organisations.

Techniques for demonstrating cost effectiveness

Decision modelling - brings together the evidence on outcomes, costs and savings to assess the cost-effectiveness of individual examples of asset-based practice. Decision modelling shows:

  • Time-bankingoutcomes: attracting members from socially excluded groups, improved physical and mental health and employment prospects and increased independence. Costs £450 and saves £1300 per member per year through reduce reliance on services. 
  • Community navigator schemeoutcomes: improving vulnerable groups’ emotional and social wellbeing, debt management and ability to gain or maintain employment through practical support and enabling them to use mainstream services. Cost: £480 and saves £900 per person.  

Logic modelling – tracks how activities lead to outcomes and the costs incurred. NESTA’s People Powered Health Project used it to measure the likely cost effectiveness of using peer support, shared decision-making, community navigators and time banks across whole NHS Clinical Commissioning Group areas. It mapped the links between these four activities and six patient outcomes. Predicted savings were 7%, over £21 million, per clinical commissioning group, £4.4 billion across England.

Try this:

  • Track all assets – including those contributed by people and communities and how these are being further developed.
  • Develop cross sector collaboration - to provide data on whole life measures of outcomes, costs and savings.
  • Assess cost-effectiveness – using both results from published studies and local assessments.
  • Be transparent – about where the investment needed to transform conventional into asset based practice is coming from and how any savings will be reinvested.

Links to all of the above innovations and more can be found in:

Alex Fox. (2017) The Asset-Based Area. Online: Coalition for Collaborative Care, Shared Lives Plus, and Think Local, Act Personal. Available at:

Richard Field and Clive Miller. (2017) Asset-based commissioning: better outcomes, better value. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University. Available as a free download, in both its full (215 pp) and digested versions (11pp), from