Social Finance was commissioned in 2016 by the Department of Health and NHS England to explore the use of social investment options for the expansion of community provision for individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism and challenging behaviour. Social Finance, after rigorous and extensive research, recommended that an initiative was put in place to increase the use of Positive Behavioural Support (PBS), with the aim of preventing children and young people (CYP) with learning disabilities or autism entering long term residential care.
PBS is an evidence based intervention that has been proven to help to prevent children being put in residential care, where they are often isolated from their family and can become vulnerable. Along with analysing and targeting a child’s challenging behaviour, PBS highlights the impact of a child’s wellbeing on their behaviour, and makes every effort to improve this.
Social Finance has conducted significant research into the evidence base for PBS. Used widely in the US, especially with CYP, there was keen interest in PBS in the UK and a nascent but compelling national evidence base – with particularly strong PBS services for children in Bristol and in Ealing. Engagement with Parent Carer Forums and individual representatives across the country has fed into our work, helping to inform an incipient view of the type of service that will best support service users.
In 2017, Social Finance secured a Life Chances Fund development grant to support Newcastle and Gloucestershire Councils to develop a proposal and support the roll-out of social investment-funded PBS services for children and young people. The new services will aim to start in early 2018 and will, together with a new PBS service in Bradford (also supported by Social Finance), expand the national provision of PBS delivered by intensive, focused teams to this cohort, and in so doing feed into the Transforming Care agenda. Importantly, these projects will provide a crucial road map for other areas interested in setting up similar services, including the use of social investment to pump prime such provision.