Every year, the opportunity we have to make an impact grows. And this year was no different. We’ve all been through so much, totally changing the way we work, at a scale and pace never seen before. Reflecting on the past twelve months, we’ve seen the type of change we couldn’t have imagined possible at the start of the year.

Launching our mission

At the end of 2019, we brought the company together to think about our future and the future of public services. We began crafting an idea, a new mission to guide us and ground us through the next decade. We kicked off this year sharing some of these ideas, thinking on the power of councils in the climate era and how we might help local government to supercharge communities to shape the future of place.

Though we delayed its release as the world pivoted into COVID-19 response, by May we were ready to launch our mission, organising for change, and our belief that public institutions are the catalyst for change to radically improve outcomes for communities in the internet and climate era.

As part of this commitment to taking the climate seriously, we ran an internal discovery on the ways our organisation can reduce its environmental impact. We shared our climate week notes, exploring what it means to be an organisation in the climate era and future models for how we can best respond to the most urgent problems facing our public institutions and society.

Working with our partners, we’ve started important climate work, bringing councils together to help them think about their levers for change to take on climate change in their places. We’ve started delivering climate assemblies and working with partners to develop new models of organising that will help them to work with their communities to effect real change.

Supporting the COVID-19 response

In March, we all pivoted into COVID-19 rapid responses. Like many, it meant moving to fully remote ways of working, testing and learning new ways of doing things along the way, including sharing our guide to making design research work remotely.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had the opportunity to support incredibly important work throughout the sector, from supporting Camden Council’s emergency response and openly sharing our work together, to building a digital PPE management tool with North East London, supporting the Trafford Modernisation Programme and pivoting to recovery projects and a stocktake that will help to build on lessons learned from the response and rapidly scaling new approaches with North East Lincolnshire Council and the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group building The Union.

You — our colleagues, partners and friends — should all be immensely proud. The work you’ve done and the things you’ve achieved have literally saved lives.

Making an impact

In addition to all of the important COVID-19 work, we’ve continued supporting our public institutions to make a real difference in the lives of citizens.

Good Work Camden saw us taking a whole systems approach to unemployment and Hackney Opportunities saw us building a service that allows residents the information, guidance and tools to upskill, find roles in the borough and talk to a personal employment advisor.

We also worked with Hackney Council to redesign their Benefits and Housing Needs Service and build a service which is easily understood, fair, accessible and beneficial to Hackney residents. As they’ve battled a serious cyber attack, our thoughts have been with the Hackney teams and we’ve been glad to help and support them through it.

And with Buckinghamshire Council, we helped build an effective, sustainable, open-source product for a better Family Information Service and Adoption Ready, a website helping prospective adopters learn more and get prepared which led to a 200%+ increase in approved adopters in the first year since launch, meaning 33 extra families for children in care.

This year we also started important work with Bloomberg Philanthropies, supporting eight European cities to transform resident facing services, tell the story of our work together and build capability for sustainable change. And working with MHCLG, we joined the consortium helping local authorities access the Towns Fund, helping councils engage with their communities, public and private partners to create sustainable change for their places. So far, we’ve created and shared the Good Governance Tool and Total Towns Outcomes Framework to help the 101 towns develop strong place-based leadership and begin thinking about how the Towns Fund projects can be a catalyst for an even bigger change.

Local government reorganisation and transformation specialists, Ameo, also joined FutureGov this year, bringing with them over a decade of experience that will make our integrated approach real through full stack change delivery.

All of this, just a small window into what we’ve achieved this year.

Transitioning to the future

The end of this year has brought with it many changes for FutureGov too. We’re ending the year giving the fondest of farewells to Dominic Campbell and welcoming Matt Skinner, our current MD, into his new role as CEO.

As we look forward to next year, we know COVID-19 will continue to be an enormous challenge. But there are bigger challenges still to come, not least of which is global climate change. The mission we set ourselves at the start of this year continues to be even more relevant and we’re ready to double down and deliver to it. Our public institutions can be true catalysts for change, organising in new ways to bring organisations and communities together, harnessing their collective energy and working in 21st-century ways to solve very complex challenges of the internet and climate era, together.

We hope you join us in grabbing tightly to what has worked, consolidating the gains that will help us address the urgent challenges of our planet, our places and our people.

Stay safe, have a wonderful holiday season and a much-deserved break. We cannot wait to see you again in the new year.

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We’re always happy to answer any questions you have about FutureGov and discuss how we can work together.

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