Financial pressures and the implications of ongoing reductions in funding for the public sector accompanied by rising demand for public services has meant that there has been, and continues to be, a need to focus on how the county council and local communities across Leicestershire can best achieve their outcomes.
Outcomes will be the result of actions derived from asset-based thinking that deliver specific and relevant results. This may include, for instance, an increase in the number of people with disabilities involved in activities in their community, reduction on the people who say they are feeling lonely or isolated, or the creation of a new service that helps mothers and toddlers with issues relevant to them.
At he same time building relationships can be a very productive outcome if you want to achieve more long term results. This can be achieved by creating and sustaining bottom up community development, using existing resources, both physical, but also skills, and social interactions.
The Leicestershire Principles of the Communities Approach are underpinned by asset-based thinking and doing, which may be already in the community, but could also help to generate new ones.
The asset-based approach starts by making visible and explicitly valuing the strengths that exist in people and places rather than starting from the perspective of the problems in a community, or what a community may need (a 'deficit-based' model).
Asset based community development draws on the skills strengths, passion and needs of a community. The key is to identify how assets can be mobilised and driven by the community.
There is a great example of achieving outcomes, where the community has identified a need to keep kids safe in their local area. This led to develop safer communities, where families worked together in the Hillside Court in Richmond Redevelopment in the US, helping to reduce crime and increase local trust.
The impact of those outcomes may be an increase in the number of families using local facilities in their community and a reduction on the use of private transport, or a reduction in medical interventions resulted from people feeling lonely and isolated.
It is important to point that most impacts cannot be attributed to just one action, but this reflects the nature of asset based thinking and doing, where the results obtained come from a collaborative and inclusive way of working and not just from one individual. In real terms this can help to secure more long term impacts.
There are examples like the one in Bute, where bottom up approaches, starting in within communities, showed how collaboration can help deliver outcomes, resourced by communities, but also supported by different partners. This tends to produce ''unexpected positive consequences, derived from more robust ownership, where the beneficiaries go beyond the main interested and involved partners.