Early interventions: An economic approach to charitable giving

What are the most expensive problems facing the UK today, and how can they be most effectively addressed?

Earlier this year, Barclays Wealth asked NPC to investigate whether taking an economic approach to charitable giving could help to maximise its impact.

The resulting report highlights some of the most difficult issues facing society. Using an economic approach, the report analyses interventions according to their potential to prevent problems that are costly to society, and improve people’s earning potential, and therefore society’s economic well-being.

The report centres on three issues:

  • Chaotic families
  • Children with conduct problems
  • Adults out of work due to mental health problems

All three cost society billions per year, and have a significant impact on the future of those they affect.

Charitable funding is often allocated according to personal beliefs and emotional connections. Society’s biggest problems do not attract the most money, and funding isn’t spent on the most effective solutions. If resources are scarce, we should we think more about their allocation – an economic approach can help achieve this.

 Action to promote good mental health and intervene early when people become unwell is excellent value for money, and research to find out more about what works is key to making that action possible.

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health