Author Archives: Richard Lightbown

An Extraordinary Opportunity

an-extraordinary-opportunity

There is never enough funding for human services to meet service demand, but increasing service performance can generate more care and effect with clients from every funding dollar.

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Saving Money, Costs Money

Social equity is value added, resulting from increases in service performance. An agency delivering $1 in care and effect with $1 in funding accrues zero social equity. An agency that, through changes in the effort, outcome and impact of services, is able to deliver $2 in care and effect with $1 in funding has added value and accrued social equity. Change costs money, so if the cost of the change in effort, outcome and impact was 25¢, the agency would accrue social equity of 75¢, per $1 in funding. Every agency copes with constant changes in resources, clientele and environment. The accrual of social equity is a measure of agency success in coping while improving service performance.

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Social Equity – The Essential Link

Equity is the value of enterprise. Building product quality and distribution increases revenue, and, with cost control, earnings, business value and shareholder equity. Similarly, in human services, building product quality and delivery, with cost control, increases the value of care and social equity. Business equity is traded; social equity may be traded as well.

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Social Equity: Certain Value

The value of care in human services is client help. To determine the value for money of healthcare and social services requires measuring that help, but the cost of comparative evaluation and cost-benefit studies is beyond the reach of most non-profit agencies.

How successful their services are in enabling clients to regain self sufficiency, repair relationships, or re-establish self care, is largely unknown. While agencies do generate results, how much client effect, and value for money, they generate remains uncertain.

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Service Productivity

Increasing service productivity adds value to the care and effect provided by human service agencies. Increasing service effort and effect increases service impact. Increasing staff effort makes more service available to help clients reach their individual goals, with no corresponding increase in funding or staffing. Increasing staff effect enables more clients to reach more of their goals per hour of staff effort, again, with no corresponding increase in funding or staffing. More progressive change in client condition per period enables more clients to depart service sooner, no longer needing the help they came for.

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