Governments invest significant resources every year in an effort to provide support to those in need but there are increasing numbers of people dependent on social services and costs are rising. By 2025 it is estimated that the shortfall in the UK will be USD 170bn; in France, USD 100bn; in Germany, USD 80bn; in Italy, USD 30bn and USD 940bn in the US. There has also been a significant shift in citizens' expectations of social and public services in recent years. People want services that are flexible and personalised to their needs while also expecting more cost-efficiency and value-for money (Accenture, 2012). 

In Ireland we have traditionally invested in group-focussed, one-size-fits-all responses, which have left thousands of people living apart from their families and communities; many in institutions and group homes with little choice or control over their own lives. Social services in Ireland are also very complex. For historical reasons, they are delivered by a large network of non-governmental organisations. The number of stakeholders and the complexity of the relationships is a key challenge for government in transforming services. Meanwhile, the population in Ireland is now at its highest level since 1861 and will likely increase beyond 5 million by 2026 and beyond 6 million by 2046 (CSO, 2013). Life expectancy has increased with an expected increase of chronic disease by 40% by 2020 (IPH, 2010).

Government have responsibility for spending public funding wisely, so with finite resources locked into the current way of providing services, there is little funding available to innovate. Philanthropy and private investment can back innovation and help to support the transition from older service models to new ways of working. This is a big challenge and it is clear that no one organisation or agency can meet it alone. 

Specialists in transforming social services

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to support people in leading self-determined lives

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