FutureGov starting working with Surrey County Council in 2011 under the banner of Future Surrey, exploring the county’s priorities for change through design and social technology. Developed with Surrey County Council from the start, Future Surrey prototyped an approach to changing public services in Surrey through a combined approach of service design and social technology to bring about organisational and social change.
The mission is an open and collaborative change model that ensures deep change locally, alongside an innovation network across the local public sector and beyond.
Through an on-going design process, FutureGov worked with colleagues in Surrey over the course of 9 months to identify local priorities and prototype solutions to meet those needs. These ranged from internal change projects through to service improvement, communications and engagement, and social innovation – the best ideas and projects going through a process of refinement, prioritisation, build and then implementation.
Two projects were chosen to highlight what was possible and in a short space of time. These were Casserole, a project tackling social isolation by connecting communities through cooking, and Help Out!, supporting residents of Surrey to do more in their communities to help improve the local environment.
In late 2012, colleagues within the council decided to take a fresh look at their approach to innovation in local public services through the Shift Surrey project, an innovation lab for Surrey County Council and its local partners. By early 2013, FutureGov and Surrey CC had set up Shift Surrey and a six month proof of concept period for the lab agreed and set in motion.
As with the Future Surrey project, Shift Surrey has been led internally and supported by FutureGov’s approach to technology, design and change. Together we are working to find and support local innovators in Surrey who wanted to undertake their own service change projects, including Special Educational Needs Transport and supporting children in care. Regular events and the the Shift Surrey online space encourage innovators to come to the fore. The Shift Surrey team ensure that those innovators are given support and guidance throughout, connecting them into the rest of the Shift Surrey programme and ensuring a sustainable legacy of locally owned change.
The approach taken to embed change and innovation in Surrey County Council is now available to other local authorities as a service from FutureGov.