Bridging the Gaps
Age Concern London has published a report on the outcomes for their clients of their information and advice (I&A) services.
The report looks at what it calls “practical” and “consequential” gains for older people. The most obvious practical gain was financial eg increased regular income, backdated benefits payments and reduced debts. In 2004-5, across a sample of 21 London boroughs, gains to individuals of £7.29m were recorded. This was achieved by investment of £1.63m by statutory and non-statutory funders and a significant contribution from volunteers. Other practical gains included: improved transport, successful applications for housing transfers or grants for adaptations.
Consequential gains included increased confidence, a better social life, more independence, better health, less worry and stress, and higher self-esteem.
The report contains information about the research methodology, and questionnaires, that may be useful to other organisations who want to monitor their outcomes. On the basis of the evidence produced by the research, the report makes a strong case for ongoing funding of I&A services.
More than Just Advice
The University of Brighton’s Health and Social Policy Research Centre has published a report on the work of Littlehampton CAB.
The research measured the financial gains to clients resulting from the work of the one part-time Welfare Benefits adviser. Between 1st April 2005 and 31st March 2006 she helped clients claim benefits totalling £428,507.60.
The research also consisted of interviews with 15 service users, discussions with bureau staff, advisers and with staff of referring organisations. The interviews with service users uncovered similar findings to the Age Concern work: amongst other things clients reported less stress, renewed feelings of hope, improved health meaning fewer visits to GPs and fewer prescriptions, and an end to suicidal thoughts.
The report concludes that CAB work also generates “cross budget savings” to the NHS or local authority housing departments (amongst others) and suggests that in the Littlehampton area these savings could represent a return on investment of at least 5.8 to 1. It recommends that further research should be undertaken to provide more detailed accounts of savings made to other budgets as a result of CAB advice. ASA agrees that this would be an important contribution to the growing body of outcomes research.
» The Age Concern London report is no longer available.