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London Borough of Bexley

How we helped Bexley to explore a 'prevention' theme for its financial strategy

January 2013 - May 2013

The Challenge

Our aim was to help the council move away from traditional thinking, and encourage the organisation to take a more strategic and prioritised approach to its financial strategy. Having defined a core ESM budget, the Council was focussed on ensuring that non-statutory budgets were being spent in the most effective way, several themes were set up to prioritise expenditure. IMPOWER was asked to support the Council in looking at the ‘Prevention’ theme.

“The project delivered a robust process in what was a difficult, continuously changing environment. The IMPOWER team were excellent – delivering a product that we could not have delivered ourselves. They helped us to achieve consensus and agreement – other consultants that I have used would not have adapted so well.”

Mark Charters, Director of Education and Social Care, London Borough of Bexley

Delivered Benefits

It is estimated that the proposals that are taken forward could  save £4.3 million (24% of the total investment in prevention and 6% of total service costs) by year 7. Recommendations included:

A key worker model in Children’s around the family and a corresponding refocusing of early intervention provision;

Working with GPs, offering re-ablement to mental health users in Adults and training staff to deliver a much more robust reviews process;

Rolling out independent travel training and personal budgets for SEN (special educational needs) users.

Initial Activity

IMPOWER delivered an initial strategic design phase where we signed management up to some key principles about ‘what good looks like’. We then went through a prioritisation process of opportunities against these criteria. Those areas of business that achieved, or had the potential to achieve the criteria, were analysed in much more detail in terms of a prevention business case. Key areas looked at were:

Adult Services – increasing independence for adults;

Children’s Services – maintaining thriving families;

SEN – ensuring that children with disabilities remain independent;

Education – promoting education in young people;

Voluntary sector – promoting a greater role for the voluntary sector.


The Council for the first time gained a clear view of the value of prevention expenditure in proportion to core social care budget expenditure and its role in reducing statutory spending. In Children’s we estimate that 30% of the budget is spent on prevention, with around half of that on universal services and the rest on targeted prevention. Across Children’s and Adults the outcomes of effective prevention services were not being measured adequately. We designed a programme to ensure that services can measure outcomes, evidence the impact of prevention investment in the future and, in some cases, re-purposing prevention services to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

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