Task Force says negative language holds back early-action projects

23 Nov 2011 News

The Early Action Task Force has said the conventional language of 'prevention' used around early-action projects presupposes problems, victims and perpetrators, and called for the use of a new language of 'readiness' associated with assets and strengths.

The Early Action Task Force has said the conventional language of 'prevention' used around early action projects presupposes problems, victims and perpetrators, and called for the use of a new language of 'readiness' associated with assets and strengths.

The Early Action Task Force, which is chaired by David Robinson, senior adviser at Community Links, is a group of charity stakeholders including Sir Stuart Etherington, CEO of NCVO and Martin Brookes, former CEO of New Philanthropy Capital, who believe early-action projects are key in tackling social problems.

Its first report, entitled The Triple Dividend, makes a number of recommendations to government, including ring-fencing spending on early-action projects; setting up an early-action fund centrally held by the Treasury; and creating a ‘minister for early action’ or an ‘early action czar’. The report also calls on government to explore guarantees or insurances on social impact bonds to stimulate the public to invest.

Meanwhile, charity funders are encouraged to consider the optimum point for intervention each time they fund, by developing a “one step sooner” mindset. The report also calls on funders to collaborate on developing a shared evidence base with consistent measurement of early-action projects.

The report, launched today at the House of Lords, also recommends that new language around early action needs to be developed, saying the language of ‘prevention’ is pessimistic, reductive and discouraging, while the language of ‘readiness’ is motivating, optimistic and aspirational.

The Task Force is due to publish a second report early next year. The term 'triple dividend' stands for thriving lives; costing less; contributing more.

 

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