To achieve a fair and just society with positive outcomes for all, there is an imperative to examine both the structural causes of poverty and inequality and the role that public services play in mitigating and reducing their impacts. A ‘deficit approach’ to the provision of public services has evolved in which services are designed to fill gaps and fix problems. This leads to individuals and communities becoming disempowered and dependent. An alternative lies in asset-based approaches. These change the relationship between the citizen and the state; between those supported by services and those doing the supporting. Asset-based approaches have implications for the structures and culture of public services.
The debate is not confined to one specific policy area. The authors consider asset-based approaches as they are developing in Scotland from three broad perspectives: those of public health, community development and social services. They make the case that the fundamental principles underpinning asset-based approaches are common to all three areas and that they all share ambitions concerned with improving health and wellbeing, reducing the inequality gap and improving life circumstances for all.
In providing a critical overview of the evidence for asset-based approaches, including the background and rationale for the approach; the current policy, political and economic context; and the implications and opportunities for the workforce, this book will be of interest and use to all those seeking change and improvement in the provision of public services whether from policy, practice or academic perspectives.