Design in the public sector: how design can be useful to policymakers

The value of design for policy makers lies in its role to link policy vision to implementation on the ground. The thinking and research tools associated with design enable policymakers to gather data and make sense of the root causes and the connections. The elements of facilitation associated with design can help stimulate individual and group creativity and, finally, the concepts, graphics and maps allow us to make experience tangible and to make the services associated with any policy attractive and appealing. Via Design Council.


Bolder, Braver, Better: why we need local deals to save public services

The Public Service Transformation Challenge Panel, which consists of public servants, healthcare professionals and representatives from Nesta, has put forward the report ‘Bolder, Braver, Better: why we need local deals to save public services’. 
The report concerns itself with the current need for transforming public services, with ‘transformation’ itself being characterised as services where:
. people are the focus of delivery, regardless of the organisations providing or commissioning;
. outcomes for people take priority over output or process targets and measures;
. frequent users of public services are encouraged to make better choices, mitigate their own costs and contribute to their communities, and services designed to encourage and facilitate responsible behaviour;
. multi-agency provision of services, virtual and physical co-location are the norm, service silos and duplication are eliminated; and,
. digital technologies and big data are embedded in the design and delivery of services to improve customer experience.

Refer also to this related article about the report on the Nesta website.

The value of long-term planning

Is there a growing recognition of the value of long-term planning? Two articles about 10-year planning ~ via the Early Action Task Force.

1. The leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, has called for 10 year funding deals in skills, transport, and social care. He suggests that this would enable long-term risk taking and better co-ordination of public service delivery. Link to full article here.

2. And also, a new report from Policy Exchange argues that housing estates would benefit from ‘ten year plans’ which encourage local teams consisting of representatives from a range of agencies to work together and address local problems. Link to full article here.

People Helping People

Nesta’s new report, People Helping People: the future of public services, found that volunteers in England contribute £34 billion worth of time to the economy. The report features case studies highlighting the opportunities and benefits of reshaping public services to mobilise social action.

A related event took place on 3rd September (discussion panel).

Social Mirror for social prescriptions

“People at risk of isolation and vulnerability will soon be able to receive ‘social prescriptions’ that help them use local resources to improve their mental wellbeing. The Social Mirror for social prescribing initiative, which has been approved for funding by the Nominet Trust, will see the RSA and Nathan Matias of the MIT Center for Civic Media develop a ‘social app’ that aims to help people participate in their communities. By responding to a series of questions, users will receive a guided analysis of their online and offline social connections, as well as advice about how they could use their connections to improve their mental wellbeing.

By testing the app’s effectiveness in different contexts – such as among GPs or other health practitioners – the RSA will evaluate the impact of social prescriptions on people’s mental wellbeing, their sense of attachment to and participation in the local community, and their use of public services.”

A route map to an Enabling State

Carnegie UK Trust have published a new report which sets out 8 key steps that government should take to build a society which gives citizens and communities the opportunity to take more control without disadvantaging those who cannot or do not want more control.
This is the final report in the Enabling State series. It marks the culmination of 18 months of research and discussion with key stakeholders in the UK and Ireland looking at the emergence of a new more responsive and engaged type of state which has been described as an ‘Enabling State’, and which can support individuals and communities to take a more active role in public service delivery and improving societal wellbeing. Access the whole series here.—place/enabling-state

New report: Managing Demand – building future public services

With many local authorities facing significant financial challenges, a new RSA report examines the steps being taken to shrink demand on public services and prevent councils from being reduced to a state of ‘perpetual crisis management’. The previous RSA report (Beyond Nudge to Managing Demand) argued that local authorities should seek to reduce levels of demand by radically redefining their relationships with citizens, communities and services. This report builds on this core argument. It looks more closely at the potential of demand management to address the challenges facing public services and communities. It traces the ‘state of the art’ from emerging science through to system change and most importantly to a shifting set of relationships between citizens, the state and public services. The report also reviews the financial case for demand management, from emerging evidence from small-scale interventions to early findings from ‘whole place’ approaches. Follow this link.