It is everyone’s hope that they, their families and friends will be able to live long happy lives, in their homes and in their communities.
Within the Locality network, and beyond, there is a wealth of examples of how community-led approaches to care are already addressing all three of these objectives.

This is what our adult social care system should enable. It should provide us with the right kind of support at the right time for us to live our lives the way we want.

But for so long, the way adult social care services have been commissioned and procured have been at odds with this. Large-scale, outsourced contracts have led to standardised “one-size-fits-all” services. These rigid services, often relying on a “time and task” model of care, do not meet the needs or draw on the strengths of the individuals drawing on them. This is learning which we have drawn from the Keep it Local campaign. It has shown that these services don’t see the whole context of people’s lives and therefore can’t respond in the right way. Keep it Local is Locality’s campaign – with Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales – to turn the tide on this type of commissioning and procurement. It calls on councils to commission locally and invest in their local community organisations and small charities, for services which transform lives.

In recent years, the increasing demand for adult social care services, matched with squeezed local authority budgets, has created a perfect storm in social care. This has put a strain on a system which has already been combatting major workforce challenges and, more recently, dealing with the pandemic. The result has been increased thresholds for accessing care, leaving individuals unable to draw on services and leaving families to care for their loved ones out of their own pockets.

Locality believes that the long-term answer to the care crisis is found in our communities. Our members show that social care goes far beyond the personal care provided at home or in residential care homes. It includes all of the services and activities which keep individuals engaged in their communities, living lives which are enjoyable and having freedom, choice and control over what they access.

Putting these approaches and these services at the heart of social care reform is what we call ‘The Community Opportunity’.

Our report, published last Tuesday, adds to a growing “community power” evidence base and argues that community organisations have a distinctive role to play in adult social are provision. It highlights learning from the Keep it Local campaign to show how local authorities can work with their VCSE sector to commission services simply and collaboratively so that they are “local by default”.

At a national level, the government’s recent Adult Social Care White Paper identifies three objectives in their vision for social care.

  1. People have choice, control and support to live independent lives
  2. People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support
  3. People find adult social care fair and accessible.

Within the Locality network, and beyond, there is a wealth of examples of how community-led approaches to care are already addressing all three of these objectives.

Over the coming days we will be looking at the case studies showcased in The Community Opportunity. Each of them shows how community organisations are playing a distinctive role in their local communities, addressing unmet demand, keeping individuals in their homes and engaged with their communities. They demonstrate the importance of putting community-led innovation at the heart of social care reform to find a long-term solution to the ongoing crisis in the sector.

You can read the first case study on NEDCare in Devon here:

Evidencing the community opportunity…NEDCare, Devon