How do we know Local Area Coordination works?

Since 1988, there have been many evaluations across Australia, Scotland, Wales and England that show, where it is designed properly with local people and there is strong, connected leadership there are very consistent, positive outcomes.

The focus on exploring, listening and learning helps to understand what works well (and keep doing it, improve) and learn from what different people, communities and partners tell us about how things can improve or be even better. These include:

  • Western Australia Department of Communities (2021 unpublished) – first state evaluation of whole community/whole system Local Area Coordination, including positive impact regarding:
    • Reach across culturally and linguistically diverse groups.
    • Positive impact alongside Child Protection and Family Support services.
    • Reduction in demand alongside multiple services including, presentation to medical services and emergency departments, police call outs and public housing tenancy disputes.
  • Derby City Council 2018-2020 Evaluation of Local Area Coordination (2021) showing measurable positive impact on: reducing isolation,  improving quality of life, young people with experience of living in care, reducing tenancy losses, early discharge from Emergency Departments and reductions in care packages.
  • Department for Education (2020) evaluation looking at the early impact of Local Area Coordination alongside young people in Derby City with experience of living in care.
  • Swansea University (2016) evaluation – a comprehensive study showing cost benefit of 2-3:1 in first year, anticipated to rise to 3-4:1. Increased relationships and connections, reduced dependence on/need for formal services.
  • Southampton Solent University (2016) evaluation – a focus on the impact and outcomes through co production in the development of Local Area Coordination.
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluations in Derby City (2016) and Thurrock (2015) showing 4:1 social benefit.
  • Thurrock Council (2014) found reductions in referrals/visits to GP, A&E, adult care, mental health and safeguarding services; avoided housing evictions.
  • Derby City (2013) diverted costs/savings of £800k in first 12 months in 2 locations whilst operating at 40% capacity.
  • Evaluations in Scotland (2007 and 2008) exploring impact alongside people with disabilities and their families, plus importance of design fidelity and consistency.
  • Government of Western Australia (2003) – comprehensive evaluation, including “Value for Money” after 15 years of operation.

Evidence and Outcomes

System impacts

Reductions in:

  • Isolation
  • Visits to GP surgery, A&E, falls, admissions
  • Dependence on formal health and social services
  • Referrals to Mental Health Team & Adult Social Care
  • Safeguarding concerns, people leaving safeguarding sooner
  • Evictions and costs to housing
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Dependence on day services
  • Simplifying system – local point of contact
    • Integrated
    • Joint outcomes

Swansea Uni (2017) Financial Benefit 2-4:1, increased networks, contribution, strengthening community.

Southampton Solent (2018) Financial Benefit 4.3:1

Wessex – Improved health outcomes (2018)

Leicestershire Financial Benefit £4.7m (2016)

Social Return on Investment £4 Return for every £1 invested (2015 & 2016).

Impacts for people

When asked about the impact of support from Local Area Coordination, people have reflected significant and consistent improvements in quality of life

  • Increased valued, informal, support relationships – reducing isolation,
  • Increasing capacity of families to continue in caring role,
  • Improved access to information,
  • BeCer resourced communities,
  • Improved access to specialist services,
  • Support into volunteering, training and employment,
  • Preventing crises through early intervention,
  • Changing the balance of care to the use of more informal supports and diverting people from more expensive services.
  • Improved health,
  • Accessing appropriate care and benefits,
  • Significantly less medical symptoms (Ed’h Napier 2017)
  • Significantly lower levels of psychological distress

Local Area Coordination in Derby 2018-2021 - full report

Derby City Council (2021). Local Area Coordination in Derby 2018-2021.


Department for Education: Evaluation of the Derby Local Area Coordination Approach

An early report of Derby City Local Area Coordination alongside young people with experience of living in care.

Mollidor, C et al. (2020). Department for Education: Evaluation of the Derby Local Area Coordination Approach.

“Making Haringey a Better Place…where everyone can thrive”

Gamsu, M and Rippon, S. (2019). Haringey Local Area Coordination Programme – A Formative Evaluation of Implementation.

Local Area Coordination: Summative Evaluation.

Lunt, N. and Bainbridge, L. (2019). University of York.

Local Area Coordination Fourteen Month Evaluation Report

Sitch, T and Biddle, J. (2014),Thurrock Council

Evaluation of Local Area Coordination in Derby City

University of Derby (2013). Evaluation of Local Area Coordination in Derby City. (unpublished) cited in Broad, R. (2015) People, Places, Possibilities. (Simon Duffy ed). Published by Centre for Welfare Reform.

Making Connections; Stories of Local Area Coordination in Scotland.

Scottish Consortium for Learning Disabilities (2006)

Review of the Local Area Coordination Program, Western Australia

Government of Western Australia (2003) Review of the Local Area Coordination Program, Western Australia.

The comprehensive review of the first 15 years of Local Area Coordination in Western Australia.

Value for Money

Bartnik, E. and Psaila-Savona, S. (2003) Value for Money – Final. Government of Western Australia

Implementing reforms in government services

Case study on Offering direct consumer funding and choice in WA disability services, p 89-114 pdf attached

Productivity Commission (1998)

Government of Western Australia – Premier’s Award 1998

Government of Western Australia – Premier’s Award 1998 for Public Sector management