Combining asset-based innovations to deliver whole system change within adult services

Jerry Tew In progress  


Quite often care services have not been giving people the sorts of lives that they want – and there is now much less funding for such services. In response to this, some Councils are bringing in new approaches to help vulnerable adults to have better lives, with closer relationships with friends and family, and better support from the communities in which they live. These are generally called asset or strength-based approaches, and they focus particularly on seeing what people and resources are available, what people want to do and can do for themselves (perhaps with some additional assistance) and what they are able to offer to each other.

Some of these Councils are now beginning to find that one asset or strength-based approach on its own may not change things very much, and so they are starting to try out combinations of new approaches at once, to see if this can bring about a real change in how things are done.


The aim of the project is to provide local authorities with evidence about how to, and how not to, use different combinations of asset/strength-based approaches to provide social care in their communities.

By examining how different local authorities use these combinations, the project also aims to use this evidence to help improve and develop social care policy and how it can be rolled out in the community.


This study involves:

  • A literature review of the different types of asset/strength-based approaches, and their strengths and weaknesses when used by themselves or together, to develop a research model for the study as it progresses
  • Development of the research model to include three case studies of different local authorities in three areas.

The case studies will consist of:

  1. Analysis of papers, procedure, agreements, contract and policies
  2. Interviews with:
    • senior strategic managers, front line managers and representatives from the health, housing and voluntary sectors followed by focus groups
    • people using the new services and ten family members
  3. A before and after comparison of 40 records following changes in provision as a result of the combination of asset/strength-based approaches
  4. Surveys of:
    • front-line workers and managers
    • the quality of life of people who use the services
  5. Analysis of data collected to see how the new way of working has affected the provision of long-term care services.