We are at a critical point in all of our social programmes. It is no exaggeration to say that we face a perfect storm. We know that trust and confidence in the deliverers of services are low and falling. We know that both demographic pressures and fiscal constraint affect how much we can spend. And we know that dissatisfaction with public and social programmes is felt as much by the people who use them, as by those who work so hard to provide them.
This report suggests a new way – it highlights the incredibly exciting work going on across the country to build the confidence and ability of individuals and to enable them to make the change necessary to live healthier, happier and more fulfilled lives. This is no quick fix. It involves profound changes in power relations, and a conscious and well evidenced understanding of personal motivation – but the prize is great. The opportunity for people to shape their own life experience, in the way in which they wish, with the support and encouragement of those whose purpose is to serve. If we can genuinely understand the difference between good help and bad help, we stand a chance of ensuring that social programmes are mutually supportive, and effective».
Julia Unwin, CBE, Chair of Advisory Panel