A report ‘One Hundred Days For Early Action’ from Community Links-led group Early Action Task Force argues that political parties have so far failed to effectively promote the importance of intervening earlier to support families and children.
They call for the public sector to shift to being a “preventer” of problems rather than clearing them up and put forward an argument for a “public sector that saves money tomorrow by using money intelligently today”.
Also being proposed, by London School of Economics (LSE) Professor Anne Power, is an extension of the Troubled Families initiative with the creation of a Troubled Youth programme, focusing on one-to-one and group support to tackle issues such as youth unemployment and housing issues.
Professor Richard Layard, also from the LSE proposes an overhaul of mental health support for parents and children with a strong focus on combating postnatal depression and the early signs of challenging childhood behaviour.
The chair of the taskforce, David Robinson said: “The support which has been expressed by the three main political parties for the principle of early action isn’t enough – it’s time for all political leaders to commit to adopting a preventative approach in their manifesto promises and then turn those words into action in government.
The case for change is stark – the public sector was designed to deliver reactive, acute services, targeted on occasional, exceptional need. The need is now neither occasional nor exceptional: more people need more help. The demand for acute public services is rising but the money to pay for them just isn’t there.”