ECT Charity works with local authorities, to provide services such as home-to-school, special educational needs transport, trips to and from day centres, local bus services, health and other door to door transport for older, disabled and isolated individuals.
These transport services provide a variety of solutions fulfilling statutory requirements and other social needs.
ECT Charity works to full cost recovery and any surplus is reinvested into our charitable objectives providing, transport in the community, especially for those individuals who have fallen in the gaps of statutory provision.
The idea that businesses can create social and environmental returns alongside financial returns has been gathering increasing interest. This shift in thinking is exemplified by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 which came into force in January 2013 and obliges all public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.
Not only do we achieve social impact through our services for individuals and groups, but the vehicles remain in the community as an asset. When a Local Authority procures its home-to-school transport services (including for children with special educational needs), we ensure that we maximise the use of our vehicles by using them during the day for our individual door-to-door transport services (such as transporting socially isolated old people to and from luncheon clubs and healthcare appointments) and during the weekends for use by voluntary and community sector groups.
Whilst the financial downturn catalysed the move towards social value commissioning, it has also meant that commissioners have suffered significant cuts to their budgets. As such, commissioners are under pressure to procure the required services but with fewer resources. Whereas some transport operators may choose to compromise on quality to lower their prices in order to secure a contract, we are firmly dedicated to maintaining our high quality and safety standards as a priority. We never compromise on that. Instead of taking a simplistic and reactionist approach to the changing climate, we have taken a holistic view and aim to work with commissioners to facilitate “integrated care” in the communities in which we serve.
An integrated healthcare system is one which puts the focus back on the patient with the aim to minimise fragmentation in patient services and instead provide efficient, coordinated and continuous care. ECT Charity and community transport play a crucial role in facilitating this transition.
Not only do we contribute to the NHS’s drive for an increasingly integrated approach to healthcare, we also contribute to deferring and reducing the need for healthcare of older people.
For instance, our door-to-door transport service can help an 80 year old lady maintain her independence by going to the shops and visiting friends. If it were not for our service, she would remain socially isolated at home which would contribute to the deterioration of her psychological and physical wellbeing. It is well known that socially isolated older people make far more calls to their GPs than those who lead a more socially active lifestyle.