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Plugging the Gap: The Social Care Challenge

The UK is facing the largest public sector spending cuts since the 1970s. Faced with the challenges this brings, there is a need for rapid and focused thinking. If citizens are expected to ‘do more’ we are going to need new kinds of services in order to support them to this end. As further tough policy and funding choices are made, can new forms of community engagement and social enterprise help to bridge the gap, ensuring that themost vulnerable and poorest are not left behind?

Through a series of papers published in 2012 Plugging the Gap will address these questions and develop ideas for practical responses to the shrinking state and cuts to services. The project will focus on how local services, citizens, networks and community assets can be better deployed to plug the gap of a shrinking state, while speaking to longer term questions around the shape of services and citizens roles in delivering these. It will seek to generate debate and action amongst RSA’s 27,000 -strong Fellowship and broader stakeholders and identify opportunities and barriers to innovation in austerity.

In this paper Jonathan Carr-West argues that while radical changes are needed, many local authorities are not waiting for long-term decisions on funding to be decided but are already innovating in social care.