Book News: August 3rd, 2010

By Sarah Gillinson, Matthew Horne and Peter Baeck

This report is about different, better and lower cost public services. It is about innovation that delivers much better public outcomes for much lower cost.

Radical efficiency is not about tweaking existing services. Rather, it is about generating new perspectives on old problems to ensure a genuine shift in the nature and efficiency of the services on offer and to transform the public’s experience of these services.

This is not an abstract theory – radical efficiency is based on hundreds of well-evidenced examples from around the world, from different services, contexts and on very different scales. It is also being put into practice in a joint project between NESTA and the Innovation Unit working with local authorities to transform early years provision.

In the short term, radical efficiency can help to tackle the unprecedented financial pressures in public services – evidence from our case studies suggest savings of between 20 and 60 per cent are possible, alongside better outcomes. If the UK can realise the potential for radical efficiency that we have seen in cities and states around the world then this would amount to both huge savings for government and better outcomes for citizens.

In the long term, radical efficiency is the necessary foundation of the UK’s response to the changing nature of demands on public services. The radical efficiency model from Chicago’s approach to community-based policing to restorative justice in Brazil, and from patient rehabilitation in Sweden to tackling worklessness in Sunderland, radical efficiency is demonstrably different, better and lower cost than traditional approaches.

Radical Efficiency is published by NESTA and is available here.