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Early Action Taskforce launches

26 Jan 2011

Early Action Taskforce launches

Monday saw the first meeting of our new Early Action Taskforce, chaired by co-founder David Robinson. It brings together charity, business and government leaders to make the case for a shift in priorities away from coping with the consequences of social problems towards work that prevents them arising.

Taskforce members include Sir Stuart Etherington, CEO of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations; Demos CEO and ex-minister Kitty Ussher; Martin Brookes, CEO of New Philanthropy Capital; Newham Council CEO Kim Bromley-Derry, and senior figures from Accenture, UBS and Hogan Lovells met on Monday for the first time as the Early Action Taskforce.

David Robinson describes it as “building a society that that no longer needs the resources to respond because it has developed the strengths to prevent: building fences at the top of the cliff rather than running ambulances at the bottom makes sense socially and financially.”

The Taskforce will meet up to eight times over the next 18 months. With a backdrop of severe cuts to preventive activities like youth clubs and advice, it will make the economic and political case for earlier action, and develop practical ways of implementing it.

Robinson argues that this work is more urgent now than ever: “Spending decisions taken at this time could begin a cycle of diminishing support for early action and increasing demand for more acute provision. This could set back the cause of early action by a generation. Alternatively, imaginatively reconfigured services can drive it forward.”

But he sees the Taskforce’s role as more than simply exploring mechanisms: “The challenge is only partly practical. It is also one of understanding and aspiration. We need to capture the essence of a big goal and to build a sense of possibility and excitement. “