Today Locality publishes our new paper showcasing the vital and unique role that community-led care can play in tackling the adult social care crisis.
Local community organisations have the local knowledge, connections, and relationships needed to provide the quality of care that people deserve.

The paper evidences the value of community-led care and why government should give community-based organisations a prominent role in their plan to tackle the crisis.

The adult social care crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing us as a country. Last week, the government published its much-anticipated Adult Social Care White Paper setting out their plan for much needed reforms in the sector. The white paper, People at the heart of care, notes the important role which community organisations play in delivering high-quality, person-centred care.

Local community organisations have the local knowledge, connections, and relationships needed to provide the quality of care that people deserve. Where community organisations have been involved in providing adult social care the results have been outstanding. As evidenced in the case studies set out in today’s report.

This research, The Community Opportunity, shows that community organisations providing adult social care:

  • Provide more personalised, dignified care: they recognise the needs and harness the strengths of the people they care for and make this the basis of their approach. Avoiding dehumanising practices such as time and task.
  • Relieve pressure on the NHS and over-stretched public services: High-quality care allows for early intervention and prevention work, reducing the burden on the NHS and often keeping people in their homes and communities longer.
  • Strengthen the local economy by employing and retaining local care staff.

Across the country there are examples of local community organisations who are providing life-changing social care. The paper highlights the work of some incredible Locality members who work to provide care which meets the needs of those drawing on it. These examples include:

NEDCare, based in Devon, are proof that small community organisations can reach communities who struggle to access adult social care provision and do so with high-quality, person-centred care. The area in which they operate was severely lacking in care services and had long waiting lists. Since 2017, NEDCare has delivered 32,550 hours of care and support for 115 individuals and their families which otherwise would not have been provided. They do not put time pressure on their carers, allowing for support tailored to the needs of their clients. This enables them to live dignified lives in their own communities. This approach allows for early intervention and prevention – significantly reducing pressure on the NHS.

Goodwin Development Trust in Hull provide 700 hours of care each week for adults with complex needs. Goodwin provide a Care Quality Commission (CQC)-registered care service called “Danny’s Dream”. It was rated “Outstanding” thanks to their ability to connect individuals to a range of services across the city. This shows the unique value of community organisations to provide holistic support, enabling greater access to a range of services and activities which improve individuals’ quality of life and keep them integrated in their communities.

This unique value of local community care providers is already being noticed by local authorities. For example, Bristol City Council, have recently launched an exciting new pilot which will see them collaborating with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector groups across the city to find innovative community-led solutions to the care crisis.

On the publication of the paper our chief executive, Tony Armstrong, said: 

At Locality we have the privilege of seeing the incredible difference that can be made by community-led care providers on a daily basis. Being in and of their community, these providers are far better placed to respond to individual needs and offer care solutions that prioritise dignity, quality and give individuals choice and control over the services they want to access.

Solving the adult social care crisis is a huge challenge but we believe that community-led care is a vital piece in this jigsaw”.

Locality is calling on both central and local government to:

  • Put local community organisations at the heart of their plans to fix adult social care and recognise the social and economic benefits of community-led care,
  • Take a “Keep it Local” approach to commissioning and procurement of care provision, moving away from poor-quality, “one size fits all” commissioning which does not address individuals’ needs.