Changing the change: agile in public services

15–16th June 2017
at etc.venues St Paul's

A 60 minute Tutorial by:

Matt Barnaby


Dennis Vergne


About this Tutorial

Times are hard in public services.

An increasing demand for providing services to the most vulnerable members of society is being undermined by crippling bureaucracy, continuous budget cuts, increased stress and 'more for less' as a mantra.

In fact, times are really hard! How on earth do services cope with change?

Commonly (as in most of the time), the response is "let's make a plan" or (maybe cynically) "let's employ consultants to make a plan to help us make a plan then when they've gone we'll sit around and scratch our heads, wondering how the hell to deliver it".

Months quickly come and go. People leave, people join, funding budgets change, circumstances change. Most crucially, by the time the plan starts to be delivered, all the data is out of date. What normally happens next is a restructure, a few job cuts, a savings plan and the cycle repeats.

For years Basis (a RedQuadrant Company) has been helping public services to 'change the change', to do 'it' differently. You guessed - we use agile to do it differently.

Why? Because we know agile works in public services for all the reasons and more agile works in IT. The manifesto translates into people focused services perfectly. Think about it. Public services are about people and the key words in the manifesto like 'individuals', 'interactions', 'collaboration' and 'responding' are effectively the cornerstones of a decent service.

How do we do it? Come and find out.

Our session is going to walk through a number of cases where we have 'changed the change'. We have delivered savings of millions, dramatically improved social care practice whilst making savings, and engaged staff in re-developing their own mental health services to halve the customer journey time whilst boosting quality.

We intend to demonstrate how progressive prototypes are so much more beneficial to delivering the right thing sooner (which might not have been what they thought they wanted, right?) and how self-organising cultures maximise the use of agile.

We also like to play games so come prepared, you might need to get creative (or lose some clothing!)

About the Speakers

Matt Barnaby

Matt is agile coach specialising in change, improvement, project mobilisation and the delivery of transformation to create organisational efficiency, process and service redesign within public services.

Matt has delivered effective agile models with the sole purpose of making things better for people delivering - or indeed receiving - services. His work has brought sustainable change to public services. He started his career as a youth worker, before working with many different public sector clients as an agile coach. These range from 20 local authorities (in the UK and Australia) to the NHS. His work has also seen him delivering projects in other sectors such as transport, finance and central government. There's more information about Matt in his LinkedIn profile.


Dennis Vergne

Dennis first heard about agile in the 90s in the context of new product development. From 2000, he worked with specific software development agile methods and started to translate this into service and culture development.

Although he is originally from Holland, since 2004 most of his work has been within the British public sector, ranging from over 30 local authorities, the NHS, probation services and central government. Prior to 2002, Dennis' work focused on delivering strategy and change for a variety of clients such as the Belgian government, Norsk Hydro, Motorola, Novartis and Lloyds TSB.

Dennis established RedQuadrant, a successful full-service public sector firm, in 2007. He has a passion for enabling transformational change that sticks, turning ideas into effective practice and behaviours. He holds an MSc in this field (Oxford - distinction) and belongs to an international network of reflective change practitioners (

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