Government Expertise

Saving money by doing the right thing

People centred services, such as health, social care and those supporting vulnerable or troubled families, consume a large proportion of public sector funds. They are also vital safety nets for people whose lives fall off the rails. However, our studies show that these services are often plagued by inefficiency and ineffectiveness, at great financial and human cost.

Methods designed to solve this problem include pooled budgets, demand management, integrated services and early intervention. They all have the aim of increasing efficiency and improving outcomes for local people. However, their impact is often reported as limited.

Vanguard has made a unique contribution to improving public sector services. Wherever the Vanguard Method has been applied, performance has improved. From planning and food safety, to refuse collection and trading standards, significant improvements have been made across public sector services without any increase in cost to the tax payer.

Typically, our clients in Government have achieved:
Housing Benefits
  • 6.5% less resource to handle 33% additional work
  • Failure demand reduced by 88% to 5%
  • End to end time to process a housing benefits claim reduced by 84%
  • Assessment completed on first visit increased by 45%, assessment completed on second visit increased by 85%
  • Lower service request volume reduced by up to a 60% within a year
  • Staff sickness reduced by 44%
Disabled Facilities Grants
  • cost of delivery reduced by 35%, a 52% reduction in mileage spend
  • a reduction in end to end time of 90%
Planning and consents
  • Timing for delegated consents dropped from a 50-day average to 14 days
  • Average cost of a consent dropped 13% from $550 to $480
  • Further information requested dropped from 70% to 15%
  • Demand related to breakdowns in the system dropped from 73% of all demand to 14%
  • End-to-end timeframes for building consents decreased from a 54 day average to 19 days
  • Support from the corporate contact centre no longer required
  • 100% capacity freed up in the Planning administration team
  • End to end time for a planning application reduced by 82%

Better for people providing the service

Hear from the people providing the service

In Housing Benefits

Qoute ‘Someone rang me just to say thank me this morning. They didn’t want anything. They just wanted to thank me. I’ve worked here for eight years and that’s never happened before. I was so surprised, I didn’t know what to say’.

In Planning

Qoute Ownership and more responsibility of caseload is motivating

In Food Safety

Qoute I take a lot more pride in my work, and the sense of achievement that my time and effort has actually made a difference is now felt most days. I think this is because I can see the impact I am having on the businesses; I have the freedom to work with them and to build a relationship with them. I actually feel a lot more confident in my day-to-day work because I am able to use common sense when telling a business what they need to do to improve

Better for the organisation

In March 2014, Vanguard and Locality published a report titled ‘Saving money by doing the right thing: why ‘local by default’ must replace ‘diseconomies of scale’’. It describes how failure demand is the biggest cause of rising demand, not demographics.

Published at a House of Lords launch on 12th March 2014, the study analysed hundreds of thousands of demands placed on the public and third sectors across multiple localities in the UK over the past three years.

Ministers, civil servants and public sector leaders learned that that more than £16bn of public money could be saved every year by tackling ‘failure demand’; unnecessary demand such as repeat assessments, multiple referrals, delayed discharge, unwanted equipment and unsuitable services, all demand caused by a failure of public services to understand people and provide them with what they need.

The study is the first of its kind to discriminate between artificial demand for public services, generated solely as a result of an organisation not taking the right action, and real demand experienced by the person who needs help.