Community Assets First: The implications of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach for the Coalition agenda | Oxfam

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The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) is an analytical model that seeks to build on the existing assets and strategies that people living in poverty use to support themselves, and then to identify what needs to change in order for their livelihoods to become more secure and sustainable. The SLA takes as its starting point not deprivation but assets: the strengths and capabilities of people living in poverty, and the strategies they use, through drawing on these different assets, to ‘get by’. Since 2005, Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty have been working with local partners to pilot the approach with people living in different low-income communities across the UK. Based on this experience, the authors – IPPR North, Urban Forum, Oxfam, and Church Action on Poverty – explore the benefits of taking a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to public policy aspects such as welfare reform, job creation, housing and provision of local services and urge policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to use the SLA in designing anti-poverty work.
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  Institute for Public Policy ResearchChurch Action on Poverty, IPPR North, Oxfam, Urban Forum Otor 2011 © IPPR Nort 2011 Community  assets first   The ImPlIcaTIONs Of The susTaINable lIvelIhOOds aPPROach fOR The cOalITION ageNda  REPORT  IDEAS  to CHANGE LIVES  aBout iPPr nortH IPPR Nort i IPPR’ it tinktnk or t Nort o enn. Wit  in Nwt n mntr, IPPR Nort’ rr, totr wit or titin n ri nt pror, k to pro innoti poiy i or ir, orti n tin oniti ro t Nort o enn.IPPR Nort pii in rion onoi, oi n onity poiy. Or ppro i oorti n w nt ro xtni -ntion ntwork, rion oit, n  tron trk ror o nin wit poiykr t rion, -rion n o .IPPR Nort 3r foor, 20 coinwoo strt Nwt upon Tyn Ne1 1Jf  T: +44 (0)191 233 9050 e: nort@ippr.or www.ippr.or/nort Ritr rity no. 800065 Ti ppr w rt pi in Otor 2011. © 2011  T ontnt n opinion xpr in ti ppr r to o t tor() ony.  aCknowledgments  Ti rport i  oorti projt, pro y cr ation on Porty, Ox, IPPR Nort n urn for, oowin iion t  workin inr on 2 mr 2011. Or tnk o to  to wo prtiipt in t inr, in prtir gin Poo ro t cntr or soi Jti, wo ir t nt, n t pkr ro or o iioo projt in Torny (Kt crtr, Tri in  Torny), brny (Jn Prry), bror (mik Qiin n Jo meoy, bror Ror cntr) n lonon (sr Knnin, aTd fort Wor). cptr wr writtn y Ni coopr, ly bri, mo h, R Nwton n Jnni  viitnn, n t rport w it y e cox. Tnk o to an lny, Ji Jrn, Kt Kwy n hn lonwort ro Ox, wo o ontrit.  aBout CHurCH aCtion on Poverty  cr ation on Porty i  ntion tion, pinin n oy rity on in 1982  n ni rpon to porty in britin. In rnt yr w  n kin to op innoti on-tr ppro to tkin porty, y inoin pop wit irt rtn xprin o porty n it oniti witin poiy kin n wir pi t ot porty, inqity n rt i, inin onity powrnt, wr ror n t n nni xion.  aBout oxfam Ox  n workin to n porty in t uK in 1996. Toy, totr wit or prtnr, w’r kin r pop  no to i on, n w’r nin t i o n, won n irn ro t uK. W op projt wit pop in porty to n t to ipro tir i n   y in t iion tt t t; w ri pi wrn o porty to rt t prr tt i nry or n; n w oy ornnt or poii tt wi tk t root  o porty.  aBout urBan forum urn for i  ntion rity n  rip ornition tt pport oniti to   rtr y or iion tt t t. W work wit or r to inn ornnt poiy n y pportin t to inn iion-kin oy. by trin in n k ro or r w t   ri twn poiy-kr n onity rop oprtin t on t ron.  IPPR North |  Community assets rst: The implications of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach for the Coalition agenda  Foreword ......................................................................................................................2Executive summary ......................................................................................................3  The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach ........................................................................3Welfare reform, jobs and economic development .........................................................3Homes and neighbourhoods .......................................................................................4Financial inclusion .......................................................................................................5Community and society ..............................................................................................5 1. Introduction .............................................................................................................72. The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach ....................................................................9  Assets ......................................................................................................................10 The livelihoods ladder ...............................................................................................11Mapping the external context ....................................................................................12 Vulnerabilities and shocks .........................................................................................13SLA in the UK ...........................................................................................................13SLA and policy .........................................................................................................15 3. Welfare reform, jobs and economic development .................................................17  The benets system ..................................................................................................17 The Coalition government’s welfare reform programme ..............................................18Jobs and economic development ..............................................................................20What kind of economic development does SLA point towards? ................................21Proposals for future work ..........................................................................................22 4. Homes and neighbourhoods ..................................................................................23  The impact of social housing reforms on the security of physical assets .....................23Homes and wider place-based assets .......................................................................25Proposals for future work ..........................................................................................26 5. Financial inclusion ..................................................................................................27 Seminar discussion ..................................................................................................30Proposals for future work ..........................................................................................31 6. Community and society ..........................................................................................32  The Big Society – more than just a programme? ........................................................32Mending ‘broken Britain’ ...........................................................................................33Making the most of our assets .................................................................................33Empowerment ..........................................................................................................34 Accountability ...........................................................................................................35Proposals for future work ..........................................................................................35 7. Conclusions and recommendations .......................................................................36References ................................................................................................................38  Contents Contents  IPPR North |  Community assets rst: The implications of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach for the Coalition agenda   This report introduces a new way of looking at things – the Sustainable Livelihoods  Approach (SLA) – and uses it to bring together perspectives on a range of issues around poverty in the UK. These perspectives are based upon and draw from discussions held during a seminar in March 2011. I was delighted to chair this seminar, because I believe that SLA offers a different model by which to analyse poverty.SLA develops the view that people living in poverty are rational agents with assets to draw upon. As a result, the question about poverty moves from ‘what do people in poverty lack?’ to something more akin to ‘what is preventing people from using what they have to get ahead?’ The difference can be signicant. So, for example, when the Centre for Social Justice looked at the benets system from the perspective of how it frames choices for people in poverty, we developed Dynamic Benets, which offers the notion that benet claimants make decisions that are rational given the context in which they live. 1  This has informed the current government’s proposals for the universal credit, which are analysed in this report from the SLA perspective, as are housing, nancial inclusion, and community and society.  A key aspect of SLA is the recognition that people’s livelihoods are affected by decisions made within structures across the full spectrum, from the individual, household and community levels up to local, national and even international policy levels. I therefore hope that this report contributes to the policy debate on the issues it addresses, and encourages new ways of thinking about poverty more broadly. There are also recommendations throughout the report that could usefully spur a range of individuals and organisations, at all levels, into action.  S http://www.cntrforsocialjustic.org.uk/dfault.asp?pagRf=38  Foreword Gavin Poole, exeCutive direCtor, Centre For soCial JustiCe  Foreword Gavin Poole, exeCutive direCtor, Centre For soCial JustiCe
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