What makes Local Area Coordination work? What helps it to deliver the wide range of outcomes alongside individuals, families and local communities and also drive reform in the service system?
Local Area Coordination (LAC) first started in Western Australia back in 1988, aiming to support people to build and pursue their vision for a good life, build personal resilience, strengthen local communities and reform services. It has subsequently developed across Australia, New Zealand and internationally, including a number of emerging sites in England.
It is underpinned by powerful principles relating to Citizenship, Relationships, Information, Gifts, Expertise, Leadership and Services as a back up to local solutions.
Over the past 24 years, there have been many, many reviews and evaluations showing the range of outcomes and possibilities presented by Local Area Coordination where designed, developed and implemented with integrity and supported by strong and principled leadership at the service and community levels.
Middlesbrough was the first site in England to start Local Area Coordination in England. The first (very early) evaluation showed a range of positive outcomes consistent with international studies and best practice. It has now been recommended that LAC expands across Middlesbrough. However, perhaps the most significant and relevant feedback is that of local people who have used Local Area Coordination.
Yesterday (4th September, 2012), local people in Middlesbrough who have been supported by LAC came together to meet David Boyle and Maria Nyberg (Cabinet Office) to talk about their experiences of Local Area Coordination and the impact on choice. It was a very powerful and moving discussion and we were privileged to hear their stories – thank you to everyone who was there.
Partners from statutory and community services, including local police, adult social care, children’s services, housing, first contact and adult education also came along to talk about their experiences of working alongside Local Area Coordinators to improve outcomes for local people.