Richard Selwyn

Hi, I’m a public servant trying to make things a little better for the world. I’m interested in public service design with a background in central and local government, a bit of NHS and education.

I started off in the MOD working on ships systems and a bit of space engineering, before falling into children’s services in the Department of Health. Working on the Children’s Trust policy in 2003 opened up a whole new world, were I could use a procurement background to shape joint commissioning, and apply experience of working with the US and defence contractors to partnership working.

Since then, I’ve worked in various government departments, done seven hard years as a consultant, and more recently led transformation and commissioning in local government and the NHS. Drawing on change programmes in Westminster, Harrow and Suffolk, it was a huge privilege to lead the national Troubled Families transformation and develop a new government vision for early help.

More recently I was transformation director for Birmingham Children’s Partnership. With nine partners and voluntary sector leads, we supported 14,000 families through the pandemic lockdown by redesigning the whole early help system.

So, for the last 20 years I’ve been applying systems thinking to public sector design, trained thousands through the commissioning academies, and written a book Outcomes & Efficiency. More recently my leadership positions have given me a chance to test at scale. But there’s still so much more to learn!

Ultimately it’s about the residents, families and children that we can help. I’m a firm believer that systems thinking is edging us to a Moonshot for public sector design, where services will be an order-of-magnitude better at reaching out and helping people earlier, and with compassion.