The government must work with the voluntary sector to improve social care and save money in the wake of the financial crisis, according to a report by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.
The report, Gain Without Pain, argues that, given a growing population and shrinking funds, a new approach to services is needed.
The VODG, an umbrella group of more than 40 voluntary disability organisations, uses case studies from 10 charities to illustrate ways in which voluntary organisations can offer cost-efficient and flexible health and care services.
One of the studies covers the disability charity Papworth Trust, which worked with live-in NHS patients with learning disabilities. The charity helped a number of these patients move from NHS accommodation to their own homes.
Papworth estimates that this saved the NHS up to £385 a week for each person.
Bill Mumford, chairman of the VODG, said: "The cuts in public spending make it all the more necessary to find new ways of working, and we need the public sector to work with us, not against us.
"David Cameron says building the big society is his great passion. My passion is showing how the voluntary sector can be central to this vision and that, in spite of the financial crisis, disability charities can provide imaginative, cost-effective services that do what service users ask of them."