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21. November 2014


From NEET to PETE: Join our #govint fishbowl on outcome-based commissioning for young people

© Collage (using picture from aka,

Outcome-based commissioning is high on the agenda of many local public services. Yet it is still not well understood nor systematically managed. The #govint #fishbowl invites you to discuss with national champions and experts in young people services how to make outcomes-based commissioning work in this field. So join the debate on Friday 21 November at 12.00 and share your experiences, achievements, questions and proposals!

So what’s a fishbowl? Like Twitter it is a facilitation method for discussing topics within large groups. Typically, four to five invited speakers form an ‘inner circle’, with a chair left empty for other participants to come forward and join in the discussion – but every time a new participant comes forward, someone has to leave the fishbowl voluntarily to free up a new seat. In our virtual fishbowl, of course, it’s even easier - all Tweeps can join in the discussion simultaneously, without pressuring anybody to leave their chair or interrupting anyone!

So who’ll be sitting inside the fishbowl to discuss with you? We’re very pleased that Garath Symonds and Chris Tisdall of Young People Services in Surrey County Council, Andy Moreman, CEO of the Young Lambeth Coop, Diane Evans of the National Youth Agency and Suzanne Thompson, CEO of the Restore Trust, an inspirational multi-award winning organisation  delivering skills & employment rehabilitation services, have agreed to share their experiences and views.

And our topic? The motto of our twitter debate “From NEET to PETE” is the brand of the recent transformation project which has achieved remarkable outcome improvements for Young People’s Services in Surrey County Council, providing many learning points for local councils and other organisations both in the UK and internationally.

The extraordinary results from this transformation have been highlighted in the external evaluation of the recommissioning of Services for Young People by @inlogov at Birmingham University and @govint Governance International, as well as in the case study produced by Chris Tisdall for the Governance International Good Practice Hub.    

Another highly innovative and unique commissioning model for Young People’s Services in the UK is the Young Lambeth Coop (YLC), which is a membership organisation for residents in Lambeth to decide how services for children and young people are run in Lambeth. Anyone over 11 years old who lives, works or studies in Lambeth can become a member, as long as they have a genuine interest in what happens to youth and play services and believe in its core values. YLC has two types of membership - community members and youth members.

We’re also looking forward to hearing the views of the National Youth Agency, Restore Trust and other experts in young people’s services, and of, course, the views of young people in the UK and internationally – but especially we want to hear from YOU!

We suggest the following questions for kicking off the debate:

  1. Does focusing on outcomes make a big difference? Why?
  2. How can we design an outcomes framework with young people? How do we make sure we identify the 'right' outcomes?
  3. Whose outcomes? What if different groups of stakeholders prioritise different outcomes?
  4. How can we help young people to co-produce the outcomes for themselves and others that they most care about?
  5. How to build outcomes into commissioning, procurement, contracting?
  6. Barriers to outcomes-based commissioning?
  7. What works in outcomes-based commissioning – success factors?

The Governance International team is very excited about our first #fishbowl debate. Thanks to all #bigfish for making it happen!

1. July 2014

Better Outcomes

Transformational change in the city of Mannheim

The City of Mannheim (about 329,000 inhabitants) in South-West Germany is one of the most ambitious local authorities in Europe when it comes to transforming public services. The transformation programme Change Squared (which alludes both to the scale of the transformation programme but also to the famous baroque grid-like layout of the inner city, the “City of Squares”) is widely admired in German local government for its comprehensive portfolio, based on all public services being provided in-house. What makes Mannheim’s transformation strategy so interesting for the UK and other countries is its strong commitment to implementation based on a carefully designed top-down and bottom-up strategy. Mannheim doesn’t just have great ideas – it is great at implementing them.

So what is the Mannheim transformation programme about and what are the results after the first phase of delivery (2008 to 2013)?


1. Rationale of Mannheim’s transformation

When the directly elected mayor Dr. Peter Kurz took office in 2007, Mannheim council was characterised by a number of shortcomings, which are common to most other local authorities in Germany:

  1. A strong focus on inputs (budget and staff) but little awareness of outcomes to be achieved.
  2. Fragmented public services, with departments operating as ‘silos’.
  3. A strong service orientation but neglect of governance issues, such as citizen participation.

For Dr. Kurz it was obvious that a new direction of travel for Mannheim entailed changing behaviours and perceptions inside and outside the local council. Mannheim had lost most of its industrial base in the previous 25 years (having been the city where Daimler invented the world-famous Mercedes brand) and was in the process of shaping its new identity as ‘the inclusive city’. This new identity focused on the diversity of local people (representing more than 170 nations) as a central asset. Furthermore, Dr. Kurz introduced the idea of the political citizen, who has both rights and responsibilities, and who is not just a passive “consumer” of public services.


2. Design of the transformation strategy

In order to make this new vision real, an overarching strategy was needed. It has focused on seven strategic goals:

  1. Strengthening urbanity
  2. Promoting talent
  3. Winning business
  4. Living in tolerance
  5. Raising educational equality
  6. Strengthening creativity
  7. Supporting involvement

For each of these strategic goals, strategic performance indicators were defined to measure outcomes. Besides conventional indicators like the number of recorded criminal offences or the unemployment rate, data from the Urban Audit perception surveys are used to measure the satisfaction with such things as the cultural facilities and cleanliness of the city. Since 2009 the number of registered associations, used as an indicator of Mannheim‘s inhabitants involvement in its civic society, rose from 2,384 to 2,576 in 2013.

All stakeholders participating in the delivery of the strategy took up the new city motto “Together We Have More Impact” (Gemeinsam mehr bewirken).


3. The Masterplan with 36 projects

A new unit to reshape the organizational architecture (Fachgruppe Verwaltungsarchitektur 2013) was set up, reporting directly to Dr. Kurz. It co-ordinated 36 projects to deliver the seven new strategic goals. These projects ranged from macro-concepts such as preparing an application for Mannheim to become the European Capital of Culture in 2020, all the way through to strengthening localism through neighbourhood management. A key project focused on increasing the level of volunteering and participation in decision-making processes in the conversion of a former military base.

Another project involved the participation of the managers of all local services in ‘strategy workshops’ to define outcomes and performance measure to assess progress towards agreed targets. An important project was the development of new guidelines for “leadership, communication and collaboration” in Mannheim Council, co-designed with senior managers. In 2010 a Competence Centre was set up to help the local council to recruit new staff and train existing staff. A steering committee representing council members, heads of services and the staff council (a distinctive feature of German organisations) monitored the transformation process.


4. Communication and staff participation as key success factors

The change management process introduced new forms of communication across services. A roadshow, based around the concept of a “mobile bar” (called “veränderBAR” in German, which is clever word play, which we might translate as The ChangeAble Bar) invited managers and staff to engage in dialogue. Dr. Kurz invited a randomly selected group of staff to have a conversation with him on a regular basis. A new staff journal reported regularly on the new projects. Furthermore, several staff and customer surveys were conducted to assess levels of satisfaction. As one district manager said:

“Previously, I used to send masses of e-mails and thought that was sufficient. Now I take time for discussions with individual staff members more often.”

The recently published report on phase 1 of the transformation process also points to the importance of:

  • Strong leadership of the corporate management team, with the directly elected mayor as the central driver of the transformation process
  • Clearly defined objectives and strategies
  • New organisational structures
  • Culture change
  • Public participation and local democracy

Professor Gerhard Banner, a senior local government expert in Germany and former Director of Governance International, states: “Never was comprehensive reform in a local authority implemented as quickly as in Mannheim. The objective, stated in public in 2008 by the Dr. Kurz, to make Mannheim one of the most modern cities in Germany, can already be said to be achieved”.


The authors:

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kegelmann, Pro-Rector of the University of Public Administration in Kehl ( He is an international expert in public governance and change management in local government. Before he joined the university, he was a senior advisor in an international consulting company, finance director of cbm (an international non-governmental organization) and a change manager in the City of Friedrichshafen. 



Oliver Makowsky is a member of the staff unit “Strategic Governance” and responsible for strategic performance management.

Better outcomes

Not just good value: A Social Return On Investment (SROI) Study of Hertfordshire Community Meals

Making the business case

Hertfordshire Community Meals (HCM) is not just a provider of meals. Our recent ‘Social Return On Investment’ (SROI) study revealed that HCM has a hugely positive indirect impact on a wide range of stakeholders. Perhaps most importantly, this impact translates into tangible savings for public sector organisations. Indeed, the SROI study argued that from a total investment of around £2.3m (in 2011/2012), HCM generated approximately £12.3m in wider social value. 

The study was carried out by an SROI practitioner in collaboration with Anglia Ruskin University and was subsequently approved by the assurance process of the SROI Network. After going through a detailed process of analysis the study found that, on average, for every £1 invested in HCM’s core meals service, £5.28 of value was created for stakeholders (44% of the value for clients, 36% for public organisations such as the local authority, and 20% for carers and/or family members).

Methodology of the SROI Study

Broadly speaking there are seven stages to carrying out an SROI study: (1) establish scope; (2) identify stakeholders; (3) map outcomes; (4) evidence outcomes; (5) give outcomes a value; (6) establish impact and (7) calculate SROI. These stages, and examples from HCM’s study, are described in greater detail below:

  1. The scope of HCM’s SROI study was to demonstrate the social value generated by community meals services for the purpose of commissioning, funding applications, and internal strategic business planning. The study focused on HCM’s core business activities; namely delivering meals, carrying out basic welfare checks during delivery, ‘Operation Sponge Pudding’ (a joint HCM-Hertfordshire Constabulary-Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue community safety project), and volunteering opportunities associated with the delivery of MoWs. 
  2. Stakeholders were identified as clients themselves (a total population of 1500), carers and/or family members of clients (1200), volunteers, Local Authorities, and the NHS.
  3. Consultation with stakeholder groups was key to the mapping of outcomes. For example, interviews with clients and their carers revealed that as a result of receiving HCM’s MoWs service, some clients feel happier, healthier, safer, more secure, and have greater independence.
  4. In evidencing its outcomes HCM had to go through a process of developing appropriate methods of data collection. Generally speaking, this meant interviewing stakeholders, carrying out focus groups, and then developing relevant questionnaires for those groups on a larger scale before analysing the results.
  5. In giving outcomes a value it was necessary to attach appropriate ‘financial proxies’ to a range of different outcomes reported. For example, a significant proportion of clients reported that if they did not receive HCM’s MoWs service it is likely that they would be placed into residential care. The SROI Practitioner asserted that the average cost of residential care in the UK is £987 per week, or £51,278 per year, and according to the Wanless Social Care Review around 38% of social care expenditure was funded by social service departments, or £19,483.
  6. In establishing impact the study goes through a sensitivity analysis and thus the processes of ‘attribution’ and ‘deadweight’ to ensure HCM’s impact is neither underestimated nor overestimated respectively. This is key to ensure both the credibility and objectivity of the study.

The social value provided by Hertsfordshire Community Meals

The statistical evidence suggests that HCM generates considerable value for its stakeholders. Yet in addition to quantitative evidence, HCM gathered a significant quantity of qualitative evidence, particularly from clients and their carers, which indicates the value that the service provides. For example, a large number of clients reported that because of the service provided to them by HCM, they are happier, healthier, and have greater peace of mind. Clients and their carers also told HCM that they felt more independent, their lives are easier, and that they are now able to work full-time as a result of not having to take time off from work to feed their relatives.

Sam Tappenden

Business Development Manager, Hertfordshire Community Meals


26. June 2013

Better Outcomes

Cleaner Streets through Better Collaboration between a Parish and District Council in Lincolnshire

Her name is Joy and she is!

The starting point: resident complaints about littering in local hot-spots

Cherry Willingham is a picturesque village with over 4000 inhabitants three miles east of Lincoln and is still growing, largely as a commuter village for Lincoln. However, for some time local residents had been feeling more and more unhappy about the level of litter in their village. As a result, the Parish Council was receiving increasing complaints especially about the amount of litter on the stretch of road between two local schools and around the area of the shops.

Why litter picking by volunteers was not possible anymore

Previously the Community School had undertaken initiatives to clear litter from the area around their school but it had stopped this following a new health and safety policy. The Parish Council decided to employ a litter picker for a couple of hours a week, which worked very well in this very small area but led to questions from residents not covered by the scheme. However, the cost of staff to undertake such work over the whole village would have been prohibitive.

Why the match-funding scheme of West Lindsey District Council did not work first

Around 2010 West Lindsey District Council, in which Cherry Willingham Parish lies, started a co-operation scheme with local Parish Councils to supplement the cost of local litter pickers. This involved West Lindsey match-funding the hours paid for by the parish. This worked for the District Council because it stopped wasted travelling time by its staff and increased its own profile in the area. However, it did involve the collection of dog waste and litter bins, in addition to the work which the local litter pickers would normally undertake. 

The Cherry Willingham Parish Council refused to be involved in the scheme because they felt the collection of dog waste and emptying of litter bins was a service which should be provided as a core service by the District Council, that it would cost too much money which the parish would have to raise by levying more on the precept (which is the local property-based tax) and that they would be left to pick up the bills when the scheme failed. In brief, the Parish Council felt very suspicious about the motives of West Lindsey District Council.

How a more flexible litter-picking scheme was negotiated 

At the time, the Parish Council was inclined to be reactive and reluctant to take on extra work. However, the proactive Councillors bided their time and waited for the inevitable 'churn' (which meant a new Chair and a few more positive people in the Parish Council). At this point, in autumn 2011, the subject was broached again. This involved a lot of negotiation with the District Council to gain reassurance on several issues. No West Lindsey DC jobs would be put at risk, no extra costs would be involved and the District Council had to give a guarantee that it would not pull out and leave the Parish Council with an outlay it could not afford.

All these issues were overcome by talking them through, one step at a time. An arrangement with a local farmer to leave the commercial bins in his yard for collection by the District Council solved the storage issues. The District Council agreed to continue litter picking on the main roads and to empty outlying bins which were too dangerous or out of the way for the parish litter picker to deal with - and they also agreed to cover for holidays. An approach was made to the litter picker and she was delighted with the offer of extra hours and had no objections to adding dog waste removal to her job description. West Lindsey DC also provided all the necessary equipment and some Health and Safety training.

An arrangement with the local newsagent for his newspaper boys to litter pick the green on a Sunday meant the area was cleaned after the normal Saturday night take-aways (and the boys earned a little extra money). With these agreements, a six month trial took place in spring 2012, which was hugely successful it has now been extended indefinitely but the Parish Council still has the assurance that, with proper notice on both sides, the arrangement can be terminated.

Why Joy delivers better results for Cherry Willingham Parish Council

In the greater scheme of things, the outlay for the work is minor.  Cherry Willingham Parish Council and West Lindsey District Council pay just under £400 per month each and CWPC pay £45 every three months to the newsagent.  This actually involved nil extra cost to West Lindsey District Council, as its costs are covered from savings through its street cleansing team being released for other work and vehicle maintenance, lower petrol costs, etc. Cherry Willingham Parish Council raises its contribution to the costs through the precept, and residents feel that paying this small extra amount in local tax is good value. 

Consequently, the village now has a litter picker who works every day on set routes (and, with the Parish Council's agreement, increased hours in the summer months). Residents now have a much tidier village. Moreover, Joy, the litter picker, has become the eyes and ears of the Parish Council, reporting problems with street signs, broken bins and graffiti. She is a part-time employee of the Parish Council and, because she is local, is concerned about the village and can literally step out of her door and start work. She wears corporate clothing, which advertises her role and promotes West Lindsey DC, and she has become well-known on her rounds. She is, of course, fully trained and, because of her adaptability and sunny nature, is well liked around the area.

As a result, resident complaints about litter have fallen and the Parish Council is now talking about getting the schools involved in a litter picking event lead by the church leaders. It has also found that general issues are being picked up and reported much more quickly than before, so it doesn't have to wait until the next committee meeting to get action.

This guest blog was written by Anne Welburn, Councillor of Cherry Willingham Parish Council.                                                                                          


Cllr Anne Welburn

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