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Whose story is it anyway?

This report looks at how to improve public services through a focus on outcomes.

This report looks at how to improve public services through a focus on outcomes.

Key findings:

  • Our public services face unprecedented challenges, made more urgent by economic crisis. Traditional approaches to public service reform are unlikely to provide the answers.
  • Focusing on outcomes can significantly increase the effectiveness of public services in meeting needs and reducing demand.
  • Shifting performance management in public services towards a more strategic focus on outcomes requires a radical culture change.
  • The key guiding principles suggested in this report are: start with the quality of your users’ lives; empower frontline staff; use your imagination and be creative; embed evaluation in everything you do; release the data; and use evidence to make resourcing decisions.

Nesta’s Public Service Lab is identifying, testing and developing new ways of responding to social challenges and delivering better public services at lower cost.


With the announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review of a reduction in public expenditure of £81 billion over the next four years, public services now face the stark reality of needing to shift the focus from how much to cut, to what to cut and, perhaps more importantly, how to make the right decisions.


This report looks at the impact and value of better public services, and sets out how a different approach which focuses on outcomes can improve the lives of providers and citizens alike.


Nesta, Substance