Capacity building with older people through local authority and third-sector partnerships
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 November 2013
In May 2010 a Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government was elected in the United Kingdom, which immediately started to plan a programme of wide-ranging cuts in public spending. However, in the face of severe economic problems the new government retained the outgoing government's emphasis on active ageing. This paper examines capacity-building partnerships between local authorities and third-sector organisations in LinkAge Plus (LAP) pilot areas in England, which were set up to find better ways to meet the needs of older people and empower them to become active citizens. The study on which this paper reports used theory on partnerships and collaboration to interrogate LAP pilot evaluation reports, along with current thinking on capacity building and work designed to improve services and outcomes for older people. The main findings are that capacity building in partnerships stimulated joined up working, which resulted in improved knowledge and skills in providing existing services. At the same time, new services emerged that meant older people were more involved in networking activities and social capital was created through their engagement in policy making, identifying needs, service design and finding solutions to problems. However, there were few instances of ideological activity that challenged established values and ways of working to go beyond traditional health and social care approaches in the delivery of services for older people. The potential impact of ongoing cuts in public spending are also considered.
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