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Local early action: how to make it happen

A new report on local early action was recently published by the New Economics Foundation for the Southwark and Lambeth Early Action Commission.

This report is the product of an 18-month programme of work funded through Southwark and Lambeth councils. Recognising the potential benefits that a preventative approach can bring, the two councils set up the Early Action Commission to reduce demand for acute services and maintain wellbeing for all residents. NEF supported the Commission by conducting research, facilitating local engagement, developing recommendations and drafting the report.

The Commission carried out a review of local strategy, policy and practice; explored more than 30 examples of good practice and engaged with local residents, community-based groups and other experts, through workshops and interviews.

Recommendations and case studies for local early action

The recommendations in the report, with more than 30 case studies, show what can be achieved in practice. They will be useful for all local councils, CCGs and voluntary organisations who want to make a radical and sustainable shift towards early action.

Preventing problems that ruin lives and trigger demands for costly services

In her foreword for the report, Margaret Hodge who served as Chair of the Early Action Commission writes: “Starting with a keen understanding of constraints under which all public bodies – especially local councils – now operate, we have tried to identify what can be done at a local level to prevent problems that not only ruin people’s lives but also trigger demands for costly services. And prevention must be sustainable.”

As NEF’s Associate Director of Social Policy, Anna Coote, writes for the Guardian’s Society section: “Most councils are desperate to find ways of improving residents’ lives and saving money at the same time. A wholesale shift to early action is the only way of hitting both targets.”

Click here to read the report in full.