The Deciding Time
This second report of the Early Action Task Force paints an urgent picture of escalating needs and diminishing resources. As funds have been cut over the last year acute services have been prioritised at the expense of earlier action. More problems have become more difficult when they might have been prevented entirely.
These trajectories are unsustainable but they are not inevitable. This report considers some of the many examples of successful prevention and points out that the benefits are economic as well as social. Effective early action is a need reduction strategy reducing future liabilities and promoting growth.
So why is it not the prevailing economic orthodoxy and the dominant organising principle at the heart of our public services?
The Task Force identify the six big obstacles that are thwarting progress. They show that isolated initiatives are insufficient. Structures and systems must change to meet imminent liabilities and to unleash the triple dividend – thriving lives, costing less and contributing more. New rules, duties, structures, tools and funding are suggested to break the constraints of short-term thinking and siloed delivery.
The recommendations here are rooted in experience. They are practical and pragmatic but would in aggregate result in a different kind of politics and a different kind of society – one that valued sustainable solutions above short term crisis management, one that looked ahead. The challenges and the choice posed in this report are profound, urgent and for us all. Prevent now or pay tomorrow; in every dimension of our lives, we need to decide.
In addition to the full report, available for download below, there is a short summary. The Deciding Time is the second report of theEarly Action Task Force, their first - The Triple Dividend - was published in November 2011.