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Using design principles to imagine a different future for Southwark

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Examples and findings, Skills, tools and techniques

Faced with a large budget cut, Southwark Council chose a radical open approach to decide what to prioritise and how to run its services.

The team started by trying to get a better idea what local residents wanted, as well as what was and was not working. They gathered feedback in many ways including:

  • rapid ethnographic research
  • residents' and staff feedback
  • analysis of socio-economic data
  • social care services case reviews

A senior leadership away day used this data to understand local concerns using tools such as:

  • personas
  • social maps
  • snapshots from people's lives
  • even a poem written by a Southwark resident about the impact of social care on their life

These tools gave the senior leadership team a snapshot of life as a Southwark resident using local services. They then developed a future vision for the borough, and thought about the changes required to achieve that vision.

They explored ideas using a range of methods to encourage them to think about different people's points of view. For example writing a newspaper article and a tweet from a resident. The group then chose a shortlist of ideas to work on. This shortlist became the blueprint for Southwark’s transformation programme.

Read more about Using design to transform local government.

For more information please contact Claire Webb, Director of Cinnamon Bubble, previously Head of Policy at Southwark Council.

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