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You First service saves a third of costs and improves lives

The local evaluation report into the first three years of the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Fulfilling Lives Partnership, known as You First, found a 34% saving in the cost of service use of the programme’s beneficiaries.

In a partnership led by Resolving Chaos You First works with people with multiple needs including mental illness, homelessness, substance misuse and offending in the three London boroughs. The people You First works with were all known to have very high service costs and yet consistently achieved poor outcomes as they typically moved from hospital bed to police cell, crisis mental health service to homeless hostel.

You First is one of 12 Big Lottery-funded Fulfilling Lives programmes across England which are seeking to improve support for people with multiple needs.

Beneficiaries are nominated to You First by partner agencies, on the basis of need, service use and potential for improvement. The team and individual decide if they can work together and if so the beneficiary is supported by a multi-disciplinary team, peer adviser and personal budget. An evaluation of the programme is built in to the programme.

Since the programme began beneficiary outcomes have improved, alongside the cost of the service use, which has reduced by over a third, 34%. Most cost reduction has been a consequence of fewer incidences of crisis, alongside greater engagement in community support services.

The report found that You First engagement led to reduced demand for mental health assessments, less ambulance use, reduce A+E attendance and fewer hospital in-patient stays. There has also been a reduction in nights spent in prison, with fewer prosecutions for criminal behaviour orders, arrests and police call-outs.

As well as a cost benefit there have been overall improvements in beneficiaries’ outcomes, measured by both Outcomes Stars and New Directions Team assessments.

The report, approved by a partnership including all three local authorities, South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust, Thames Reach, Certitude and the Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ‘ You First is achieving the aims set out in its original business plan of improving lives and saving money through making better use of resources.’