Our key message is simple: policies based on the principle that prevention is better than cure will be more successful than policies based on reaction after harm is done.

The vast bulk of public spending is focused on reaction, with billions spent every year on physical and mental ill health, social services, probation, police and prisons. 

Prevention saves lives and saves money

The Christie Commission on local government spending stated in 2011 that up to 40% of local government expenditure is incurred because of 'failure demand'.

Failure to prevent 'upstream' problems is costing taxpayers very dearly. The trans-generational nature and exponential growth of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is leading to ever increasing demand on dwindling budgets.

For every £1 spent on prevention, the savings will be between £5 - £10.

In 2013, the CEO of Barnet Council looked at the rising costs of adult social care and children's services in his borough. Concerned, he crunched the numbers. He found that costs were rising at such a rate that, in his words:

'Over a 20-year period, unless there was really radical corrective action, adult social care and children's services would need to take up the totality of our existing budget.' - Nick Walkley, then CEO of Barnet Council

The graph he created to illustrate this came to be known as 'Barnet Graph of Doom':

Calderdale Council's CEO stated publicly in 2018 that for every £1 they spend, 67p goes on social care. Our experience tells us that these examples are not isolated cases, but common challenges faced by councils across the UK.

So why are Councils still not investing in prevention when the long term outcome will inevitably be financial meltdown?

Some answers can be found in the set of (short) reports we wrote for the Department of Health in 2014 and listed below: