Supporting people in Derby to 'get a life, not a service' and providing 400% 'social return on investment'

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"We met over a cup of coffee. Bit by bit Sally has helped me become more confident and assertive." Jane, who has benefitted from the scheme.

Derby City Council are supporting residents to be less reliant on traditional services and looking at providing community-based solutions to their problems. The council has found that Local Area Coordination (LAC) means that £4 of social value is created for every £1 invested.

The analysis, commissioned by Think Local Act Personal, was undertaken to measure the impact of LAC across Derby City Council and show the social value to residents as well as the cost benefits for further expansion to 17 council wards.

Local Area Coordination supports residents in the community to 'get a life, not a service'. People questioned in the evaluation report improved health and wellbeing, for instance by having less social isolation, increased confidence, independence and control over their lives.

Lynda Tarpey, Director of Think Local Act Personal, said:

"This evaluation supports a growing evidence base and compelling narrative that urges the mainstreaming of a community and person centred approach to health and wellbeing. Taking the time to develop relationships, paying attention to the skills, talents and knowledge that we all have and connecting people with their communities is what enables people to live with meaning and purpose. This reports demonstrates that not only is such an approach essential for improving outcomes but will also increase the financial capacity of a system under unprecedented pressure."

Jane from Derby, who has benefited from the support of a Local Area Coordinator from Mackworth for the past six months, said:

"I was introduced to Sally my Coordinator at a really low point in my life. I had been struggling to get out of the house and was feeling angry with life and judged by everyone. We met over a cup of coffee. Bit by bit Sally has helped me become more confident and assertive. I've referred myself to a local counselling service and we're looking at housing options together. If I get ill I know that Sally will link my family with the specialist teams so I don't need to worry."

Councillor Martin Repton, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Care in Derby, said:

"Today's report shows Local Area Coordination is bringing real value to people with physical health problems, people with mental health problems, vulnerable elderly people and their families and carers. It truly embodies the values expressed in the Care Act and forms a key part of the Council's aim of supporting far more people in their own homes and communities, as opposed to possibly having to consider residential or nursing care because support networks in the community have broken down or do not exist.

"We'll now be looking to expand LAC to all 17 of Derby's wards and it will form a vital role in supporting the Five Year Forward View assertion to engage with communities."

An earlier report commissioned by Thurrock Council, using the same analysts produced the same outcome, £4 Social Return on Investment for every £1 invested, with a clear message that this figure could be increased significantly as the LAC service grows and develops.

Councillor Barbara Rice, Thurrock Council's portfolio holder for adult social care has been an advocate of the LAC Project. She said:

"Every council is continuing to feel the budget burden. Although much is done to protect front line services, we are at a point - and have been for a while - where we need to think radically differently and the LAC project is one of the initiatives that Thurrock has embraced.

"It's notoriously difficult to show a direct correlation between doing things differently and "savings" in social care because of the complex relationship between demographic growth, raised aspirations and demand. However the report very clearly shows the ripple effect of a proactive, meaningful and helpful conversation when supporting vulnerable people.

"Therefore, evaluating our hard work and effort through the return on investment model is a good indicator - and I'm pleased it's shedding light on the fantastic contribution our LAC team makes to the people in Thurrock."