New report calls for cultural shift decisively in favour of ‘early intervention’

The Cabinet Office has just announced publication of the second of Graham Allen MP’s independent reports to government on early intervention services. The general thrust of the report — Early Intervention: Smart Investment, Massive Savings — is that investing in early intervention services in parenting and early years offers perhaps the only way of forestalling the subsequent costs of entrenched disadvantage and family dysfunction. In fact, Allen goes further in his preface to the report and says that early intervention, by “building out” the costs of service failures, offers  “the best sustainable structural deficit reduction programme available”.

The report sets out the terrain not only on early intervention as a cultural shift in the commissioning and targetting of services, but also on the funding of such services, and it is here that one can see an alignment with Social Impact Bonds, payment by results, and the desire to build a new “cadre of investors” able and willing to invest in social outcomes, their return on investment derived from savings to the public purse.

The report makes three key demands:

  • A decisive cultural shift in government policy in favour of early intervention.
  • The creation of a national, independent Early Intervention Foundation.
  • The development of a reliable evidence base for the most effective Early Intervention programmes.
  • The creation of a market in social finance to support Early Intervention.

Update: There was a great piece by Polly Toynbee in yesterday’s Guardian in which she dissects the distinct ‘sub-prime’ parallels in the government’s ‘grand illusion’ that  ‘sub-prime behaviour’ can be ‘monetised’.

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