How do you fix a broken system?
Charities, funders and public bodies tackling social problems should seek to address systems change, according to a new report from Social Finance and Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales. With the pandemic magnifying existing systemic failures, the report pulls out lessons for how to practically move the needle on a social issue by shifting the way a whole system works around it.
The report, Changing Lives, Changing Systems: Lessons from reducing and preventing domestic abuse, identifies 12 lessons for maximum impact based on the Drive partnership, which challenges the behaviour of high harm perpetrators of domestic abuse.
The report identifies a simple model that organisations can adopt to contribute to systems change. Starting with asking why you are doing this work to identify the change you want to see and always staying focused on that change. Then identify who the right partners and people are and the right ways of working together to finally consider how you will work together to make change happen. The report explores these elements in more detail and seeks to identify specific, actionable lessons from Drive’s experience.
Emily Bolton, Director at Social Finance, said:
‘’As society faces the additional challenges of Covid-19, the ability to shape, change and develop better systems to tackle social issues is more important than ever. Drive represents a new approach to a longstanding issue, changing the way that the criminal justice system, social services, other public agencies and charities respond to domestic abuse and shaping policy as well as practice. With Drive, we have been practically working to create system change. This report is a first step in sharing our learnings over the last few years.’’
Duncan Shrubsole Director of Policy, Communications and Research at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said:
“As a charitable foundation, we have always supported charities tackling key social issues like domestic abuse, but we wanted to get upstream and tackle it better at source by challenging those who perpetrate it. With Drive through our funding and being a member of the Drive Project Board, we have helped develop a response that has indeed challenged perpetrators, changed lives but also changed how systems and organisations work together. Systems change is much talked about, with
Drive a whole range of partners from across the public and voluntary sectors have come together to walk the walk, learning a lot as they have done so about the partnerships, approaches and leadership that enable success. We hope this report can help others to shape, change and develop systems to tackle society’s big issues.”
Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of Drive, said:
“This report shows how a network of partners can come together to deliver more than the sum of their parts. We are so grateful for the hard work of every one of our partners – both statutory and voluntary — that keeps victims of domestic abuse, including children, safer. These strong relationships and our shared ambition to change perpetrator behaviour and turn the tide on domestic abuse have helped us respond to many challenges together, not least how to deliver during lockdown, and we continue to learn from each other along the way.”
This is the first in a series of reports looking at systems change in different social issues.