Building community capital in social care: is there an economic case?

Martin Knapp, Annette Bauer, Margaret Perkins, Tom Snell (2013)

Please note: this is a legacy publication from CPEC (formely PSSRU at LSE).

Community Development Journal 48 2 313-331

Available online: 26 September 2012

Current debates about the sustainability of public commitments include discussion of the adequacy and affordability of collective health and social care responses to the rapidly growing needs of ageing communities. A recurrent theme in England is whether communities can play greater roles in preventing the emergence of social care needs and/or helping to meet them. Various approaches have been suggested, including community development, community capacity-building and creating social capital. We investigated whether there is an economic case for initiatives of this kind, cognizant of the fact that there are many other objectives for any local scheme. We used a cost–benefit approach and decision-modelling techniques to examine potential costs and economic consequences in a context where evidence is limited and there is little opportunity to collect primary data. We conclude that there could be sizeable savings to the public purse when investing in community capital-building initiatives at relatively low cost.