Fostering services are expensive and yet the outcomes for care leavers are extremely poor. 38% of care leavers are not in education, employment or training compared with 11% of all young people. To address this problem, the council intended to pilot a new, specialist service for teenagers with challenging behaviours - the Pioneer service.


The aim was to train foster carers to support young people with the intention of improving their behaviour through a short-term foster placement. They could then return to their families and avoid entering the care system. Bexley asked FutureGov to implement a new Pioneer service with the fostering team and ground the experience in the real needs of teenagers.

We took a systems approach, conducting depth interviews, observation and prototyping with all users - from young people and their families, through to foster carers and social workers. We then iteratively designed the target user experience and the “back-end” of the service.

FutureGov has brought to Bexley energy, passion, commitment and new working practices that provoke us to problem-solve in completely new ways

Anne-Louise Clark

Former Head of Transformation and Change, London Borough of Bexley


net savings identified by Year 3


young people supported to stay with their families by Year 3


Our strategic work helped Bexley to clarify its service vision, desired outcomes and predicted savings. Finally, we set up the delivery team for success - designing critical piloting tools such as job descriptions (to recruit Pioneer foster carers) and an evaluation framework.

Our savings model for the Pioneer service projects net savings of over £2 million in year three. The service will prevent children from entering the care system unnecessarily and achieve better long-term outcomes. Our project was also a catalyst for cultural change within Bexley - the fostering team continues to work in agile by testing and iterating.

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