A pioneering Council scheme to help vulnerable people in Derby is gaining national attention because of its success.

Local Area Co-ordinators (LACs) are connecting citizens with community projects and activities so they are less isolated socially and able to continue living independently.

Support given as a result ranges from lifts to church and help in dealing with official agencies, to attending community cafes and clubs.

An independent assessment of the scheme has shown that it is saving millions of pounds by improving people’s quality of life so that they do not need taxpayer-funded services. This impact is attracting interest from other local authorities across the country.

The Council launched the project as a pilot in 2012 with just two Local Area Co-ordinators. They were tasked with getting to know what was going on in their communities so they could direct people to activities which would help to meet their needs.

Research by the University of Derby showed that the pilot delivered £800,000 of savings in just eight months.

The Council has now expanded the number of co-ordinators to ten (one per ward), through joint funding with Derby Clinical Commissioning Group.

Further evaluation has shown that every £1 invested in the £500,000 scheme is saving £4 by avoiding the need for residential care, emergency accommodation or social care at home.

The rising demand for adult social care is one of the Council’s biggest challenges. Without the project, most of the 700 people it has helped would have needed paid-for services. Because of it, only 17 have been referred.

Vulnerable people thought likely to benefit are put in touch with Local Area Co-ordinators by other agencies, including GPs, the police and mental health workers.

The Council would like to extend the LAC scheme to cover the entire city, should the funding be available. It is one of several local authorities to have written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, asking to meet him to explain the benefits of Local Area Co-ordination and its potential to benefit the whole care system.

Councillor Martin Repton, the Cabinet Member for adult social care, said:

“We’re very proud of this scheme. It is a great example of how an innovative approach can have a real impact.

“This is about community resilience, based on networks and relationships. It’s helping us, the NHS and most importantly hundreds of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Read Michael’s story to see how our Local Area Co-ordinators are helping make a difference to people’s lives.

Published: Tuesday 21st February 2017