‘Our approach to social care is unsustainable, not least because we wait until care needs are acute before we address them.’
The New Economics Foundation has published a August 2018 report on sustainable social care in the UK and the role of community businesses.
It argues that whereas the current debate centres around funding reform, this will not be meaningful until the system is improved.
The report finds that community businesses are:
- preventing harm – keeping people well through an active focus on health and wellbeing;
- building community power – enabling people to take collective control at a local level;
- spreading eco-systems of care – connecting local social infrastructure to create social, economic and environmental value; and
- creating good jobs – providing sustainable employment and acting as a driver of local economic development.
It also explores why community-led models remain on the margins of commissioning.
Recommendations to local and national government for routes to a more sustainable, community-led social care system include:
- spread community-led care models – fund catalysts and incubators to scale out care models such as those developed by community businesses;
- commission for outcomes and co-production – focus on the ‘triple bottom line’ of social, economic and environmental value and on co-production to get real value for money, achieve wellbeing and prevent harm; and
- grow the core economy – ensure people have the time to care for others and to be active in their communities, by strengthening social security.