Radical Efficiency

The challenge

Local public services are crucial for people’s well-being - creating support systems which work, tackling social isolation and giving children the best start in life are just a few of the ways in which they can be life changing.

To make a difference, public services have to connect with people and help them to change their lives. Today, they have to do this against a background of significant and continued cuts to resources. The challenge cannot be met by increasing efficiencies alone - we believe the answer is transforming services through innovation.

Pioneering Change

We are working with many local authorities who are pioneers in making the transition to different, better, lower cost public services: in making the leap from delivering services to people, to delivering services with people; from working inside service boundaries, to a holistic approach to working with each person; from an individualised approach to working systematically with families, friends and support networks; and the leap from standardised to more personalised outcome measures.

Making this transition is essential - but it is also hard.

Radical Efficiency

Radical Efficiency is just one example of how we work with authorities to make the transition to different and better solutions to complex challenges.

At its heart it redesigns services to focus on the end user. The starting point is not ‘how do we save money here?’ It is ‘what will most improve people’s lives?’ It creates new and different services with much better outcomes for the people who use them.

Examples of Success

To date, we have worked with 6 local authorities to apply the Radical Efficiency; one of those being Knowsley who redesigned their Children’s Centres. Radical Efficiency:

  • brought together a mixed team to drive the work, interpret research findings and co-design solutions; 
  • comprised of children’s centre staff, parents and community partners; 
  • carried out an exercise to segment potential service users; 
  • conducted intensive research and insight gathering, working with families and the wider community to understand the real challenges faced by families; 
  • carried out “horizon scanning”, looking at innovations around the world in early years work, to stimulate new thinking on existing challenges; 
  • and undertook a resource audit to understand how money was being spent and what impact it had. 

Working with local authorities has shown that the process can be mobilising and energising. It helps public service professionals to pursue the mission that attracted them to their roles in the first place - it is a route to helping improve the quality of people's lives, even as cuts in spending are unavoidable.

Radical Efficiency is not an abstract theory. It is based on hundreds of well-evidenced examples of different, better, lower cost services and has been put into practice in the UK. Read more about how it works by downloading the documents on the right, or learn more about how Radical Efficiency is transforming early years services here.