Project Overview

Public services and agencies often work in silos, resulting in systemic flaws that lead to poor outcomes for citizens. AcrosSilos is a pattern library that provides a set of tools and guidance to enable effective horizontal collaboration within local authorities. The patterns are being used by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and have the potential to trigger joined-up approaches in any local government. They have been co-designed and tested with front-line workers, service managers, data scientists, and behavioural scientists in the borough, resulting in targeted interventions that improve collaboration across the council and services to prevent child neglect.

Project Commissioner

MA Service Design, Royal College of Art + London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Project Creator

Emilia D’Orazio, Saumya Singha

Project Innovation/Need

Public bodies and services within local governments often work in silos, resulting in systemic flaws that leave citizens facing the brunt of it. We worked with the Barking and Dagenham Council with the enormous challenge of preventing child neglect, which comprises 46% of child protection issues in the borough. If not addressed, there is a high risk for the child to end up in social care and face negative consequences into adulthood.

Design Challenge

During our research we observed and mapped patterns of information deficit and lack of communication that was leading to late interventions and resulting in adverse outcomes for vulnerable children and families. Complex multifaceted issues such as these involve multiple actors that need to work together for shared outcomes. It calls for the sharing of information and effective feedback loops to strengthen the system and make it self-organising.

We set out to enable collaboration between schools, public services, and the council through effective information and- communication flows, which would then allow all of these actors to provide support to vulnerable families early, quickly, and more effectively.

Future Impact

AcrosSilos is a service pattern library that provides a set of tested tools and guidance to enable joined-up approaches within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham through information sharing and better communication. It can be used by service development teams for reimagining interactions between services, practitioners, and local authorities. The patterns are organised into categories of action: get or give access to citizens’ data; orient practitioners to navigate local offers; provide information about a service; redirect a case to more appropriate services. They can be adapted and combined as per needs, and come with instructions and templates that bring them to life. Explore the library here: https://servicepatterns.wixsite.com/acrossilos

The patterns collected into AcrosSilos are the result of a collaborative and iterative process, to develop strategies to prevent child neglect in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The patterns are being tested and implemented through 3 interventions that allow public services, primary schools and the Council to identify and support children and families at risk early, quickly and more effectively. The Partner Information Portal, allows the Council to securely share crucial information on children and families at risk to schools, so they can better identify and support them. The Interactive Service Guidance, is a set of tools that enable practitioners to quickly identify needs of families and activate appropriate services to support them. A New Feedback and Handover Process, enables services to give feedback to schools for referrals made, and redirects them to other, more appropriate services. Learn more about the 3 interventions here: https://servicepatterns.wixsite.com/acrossilos/case-studies


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