Social care as a local economic solution in the West Midlands — new report from Localise WM & NEF

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Localise West Midlands and the New Economics Foundation have just published a new report called Social Care as a Local Economic Solution in the West Midlands.

The report argues that rather than viewing social care primarily as a problem, innovative new policy perspectives should be adopted — especially at the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) level — that would not only improve social care but would also enable the social care system to be harnessed as a means of generating inclusive prosperity across the region. Social care rather than grand, city-centre prestige projects should be the central plank of WMCA economic policy.

The report argues that:

» Social care is on the brink, if not already in, crisis. Provision is on a cliff edge as a result of national funding cuts, an ageing population, and a dysfunctional system dominated by ‘too big to fail’ companies. The West Midlands’ population of over-65s is expected to increase by 19% by 2025 alone.

» More funding is urgently needed, but is only part of the answer. There is an imperative to do more with less at the local and regional level: to make every pound of public money work as hard as possible for the achievement of multiple objectives.

» Care must be reframed as no longer just a ‘cost’, but a major economic sector with the potential to deliver prosperity across the region. Nurturing a diversity of community-scale providers would make the system as a whole more resilient and person-centred.

To learn more follow LWM’s conversation on Twitter: @localisewm using #socialcare and #goodlocaleconomy

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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