Circles of Support and personalization: Exploring the economic case
Circles of Support aim to enable people with learning disabilities (and others) to live full lives as part of their communities. As part of a wider study of the economic case for community capacity building conducted from 2012 to 2014, we conducted a mixed methods study of five Circles in North West England. Members of these Circles were supporting adults with moderate to profound learning disabilities and provided accounts of success in enabling the core member to live more independent lives with improved social care outcomes within cost envelopes that appeared to be less than more traditional types of support. The Circles also reported success in harnessing community resources to promote social inclusion and improve well-being. This very small-scale study can only offer tentative evidence but does appear to justify more rigorous research into the potential of Circles to secure cost-effective means of providing support to people with learning disabilities than the alternative, which in most cases would have been a long-term residential care placement.