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The increasing adoption of Local Area Coordination across the United Kingdom as a strengths-based approach to acting on inequalities which impact on individual health and well-being, and reducing reliance and avoidable use of health and social care services, has catalysed increasing calls for evidence to justify economic commitment. In a time of austerity where extreme pressure is on resources to prove short-term outputs, Pawson and Tilley’s realist evaluation methodology holds significant promise in asking critical questions of how and why programmes work. Ultimately, such philosophical standpoints facilitate opportunities to examine whether the sustainability of programmes are cost-effective for the system in the longer term. This article draws upon the findings of a realist evaluation of Local Area Coordination on the Isle of Wight and establishes how and why the programme works for people and local communities. A blend of realist approaches, Q-method and realist interviews were adopted within this study. The study’s sample was a cross section of 18 people who engaged with the Local Area Coordination programme across the Isle of Wight. The findings of the evaluation established that the Local Area Coordinators’ ability to facilitate a ‘golden triangle’ of listening, trust and time were factors which made Local Area Coordination work. It was also clear that Local Area Coordination worked for different people in different ways, demonstrated through the contextual differences between three subgroups who were categorised based on shared viewpoints, and presented through the holistic narratives and corroborating interview data.
Mason, J., Oatley, C., Harris, K., & Ryan, L. (2021). How and why does Local Area Coordination work for people in different contexts? Methodological Innovations, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/2059799120985381