Supporting Thurrock residents scheme commended

THURROCK Council’s investment in Local Area Co-ordinators has reaped a 400 per cent return on investment says analysis commissioned by Think Local Act Personal.

The council has found Local Area Co-ordination (LAC) delivers significant social value to residents with up to £4 of social value for every £1 invested

The evaluation was undertaken to measure the impact of LACs across Thurrock and to show the social value to residents as well as the cost benefits.

Local Area Co-ordination supports residents in the local community to “get a life, not a service” by decreasing reliance on traditional services in place of community-based solutions.

Individuals reported improved health and wellbeing outcomes such as reduced social isolation, increased confidence, independence, sense of control.

Thurrock also carried out the Social Return on Investment evaluation to find out the social impact of Local Area Co-ordination and to help secure more funding for the longer-term to support the continuation and expansion of LACs.

Cllr Barbara Rice, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Adult Social Care has long 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.”

She added: “Therefore, evaluating our hard effort and work 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.”

And Think Local Act Personal director Lynda Tarpey, added: “This evaluation support 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 a relationship, 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 report 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.”

Thurrock worked with Derby City Council which also utilises LACs and the Think Local Act Personal research found similar successes there too.

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