Improving Public Services

/ Improving Public Services

Rocket Science offers a range of skills and experience to help improve the way public services are designed, commissioned, delivered and evaluated. We don’t advocate particular methods or thinking, what we provide is the evidence, insight and a roadmap to creating successful solutions to difficult and entrenched problems.

What we do

Researching, mapping and scoping
Whether you need the evidence to develop a business case for a new project or intervention or insights into how communities are responding to a policy issue, we use a wide range of social research methodologies to help you understand the issues.    We help gain clarity on what it is you are trying to answer and then use quantitative and qualitative approaches to provide you with the data, insight and intelligence to help you take the next steps.

We are experienced in

  • Conducting large scale research and consultations using face to face, telephone interviews, focus groups, online surveys and deliberative workshops
  • Visualising statistics and data to make them interesting to read and easy to understand
  • Capturing ‘lived experiences’ and conducting longitudinal studies to understand journeys and create stories of impact.
Analysing cost benefit and value for money
Assessing the cost benefit of an approach or an assessment of whether you are getting value for money requires a sophisticated process of measuring the return alongside understanding wider impacts.  We are able to undertake cost benefit analysis, providing a value in pounds of an intervention including valuing softer outcomes like improved health as well as harder outcomes such as increased income and reduced costs to welfare.

We have:

  • Reviewed the cost benefit of the Citizens Advice’s Welfare Reform Mitigation Programme in Scotland.
  • Completed a cost benefit review for a Whole Place Community Budget pilot in West London targeting young people at risk of becoming NEET.
  • Conducted a value for money assessment on a third sector infrastructure investment developing an alternative logic model and data collection process for capturing and measuring value.
Systems thinking
We are one of Scotland’s leading advisers on using a systems approach to improve service performance and creating a more coherent support structure for clients.  We have used systems approaches to:

  • Describe local employability and skills systems which we have used to:
    • Help partners ‘see’ what their whole employability and skills system looks like and what the links and flows are (in North Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Clackmannanshire)
    • Help providers understand their role and how they can best contribute
    • Help partners integrate the different parts of the system
    • Help partners understand the flows and connections in your system and what needs to be done to better accommodate them.
  • Map flows of patients in parts of the health service to identify and tackle blockages and mismatches between demand and capacity
  • Map communication and intelligence flows within a major public organisation as a way to improve knowledge management.
Co-production and commissioning
We help service users and residents to design services that work for them and with commissioners ensure maximum social return from their investment in providers.    This ranges from developing targeted consultation and design activities which put users in control through to providing ‘contract readiness support’ to organisations to help them bid for and win contracts.

  • We have developed an innovative programme of support which helps build the confidence and skills of individuals to get involved in co-design and co-production which is being trialled over two years in a deprived area in London.
  • To support ESF and Transforming Rehabilitation commissioning we have developed a programme of intensive face to face, training and tools to build the ‘contract readiness’ of providers at Tier 1, 2 and 3.
Evaluating programmes, process and impact
We are experts in designing and delivering process and impact evaluations.  We have evaluated over £200 million of BIG Lottery funds,  employment, skills and economic development programmes worth in excess of £100 million including ESF and other EU funding.

  • We recently evaluated Awards for All - the Big Lottery Fund's most popular grants programme.  We conducted a national research programme across the four nations (with welsh translation in telephone and on-line surveys and focus groups) and developed a tool to simply capture the impact of the funding on BLF's funding outcomes.
  • We conducted an evaluation of the Jobs for Haringey and North London Pledge an ESF funded employment programme worth £2million and supplemented this with a review on how the council should focus its future efforts and investment into employment programmes in the context of ESF 2014-2020, the London Growth Plan, continued welfare reform and demographic changes.
  • Rural Direct is the information and advice service about the funding of projects for rural communities across Scotland.  We carried out online surveys, focus groups, workshops and a wide range of interviews, together with a detailed interrogation of the Rural Direct database.  This research allowed us to develop recommendations about how best to ensure that rural communities across Scotland have access to consistently high quality advice and guidance.
Improving performance
Much of our work focuses on working with clients and partnerships to improve their performance.  This can involve:

  • Focused work to enhance performance against contract targets. We design and deliver staff workshops to dissect the issues and create a clear sense of the action needed to meet or exceed targets – or just to get back on track.

“Thanks for the work you did in our change management plan. What a transformation! Results have already turned around. The team are totally up for it … fulsome in their praise for your role in this.”  Chief Executive, Scottish Charity.

  • Strategic partnership workshops. We work with clients to help them create greater focus and clarity about actions and respective roles.
  • Strategy reviews. We work closely with clients to review current strategies, with a particular focus on aims, objectives, accountability and resources and identify ways in which the strategy can be refined to transform practical impact.



  • VCS Assist Tool 

    The VCS Assist Tool is designed to enable voluntary and community sector employment and skills organisations adapt to the changing…