When parents and children attend projects with A Better Start Southend, they are benefiting from a considered process that has gone through many stages to make sure it is just right for them.

By the time an idea to improve the lives and opportunities of Southend’s next generation reaches service design, it will already have gone through a number of stages. Ideas are generated at community level (e.g. Parent Forums), with ideas then further refined by subject matter experts and presented to the Big Lottery Fund for formal sign off to progress to service design.

Service design may sound a little abstract, but it is now a key part of any project that we run and a very important stage of the Better Start programme. It is developing new ideas and turning them into fully functioning test and learn projects. Our projects are now developed during special Service Design Days, informed by parents, professionals and subject matter experts, published literature, as well as data.

Co-production, involving parents and professionals equally in identifying needs, solutions and how these are developed is at the heart of service design too. Parents, as well as other members of the local community will have an important role to play in helping design services that are suited to the needs of the local area.

Subject matter experts, such as respected senior university academics, also comment and feed into the design of new projects using their knowledge, skills and expertise alongside other local professionals (such as teachers, health professionals) and those who want to inform the design of new projects.

The design of services will be facilitated through whole-day sessions (Service Design Days) and dates will be sent out to interested parties as and when they are agreed.

The two projects being shaped at this Service Design Day on the 16th August will be Breastfeeding Peer Support and Introducing Nutritious Foods, and there will also be a Breastfeeding & Diet & Nutrition Integrated Advice and Guidance project due to go through service design soon after that.

We want as many views and opinions on new services as possible, so if you have any comments on any of these upcoming projects, please let us know at info@pre-school.org.uk.

Once the service design stage is complete, a service specification will be produced and the programme will look for providers to deliver. If your organisation would like to be involved with the delivery of these upcoming projects, which are centred around our new focus of Diet and Nutrition, please contact James.Boxer@pre-school.org.uk or Deborah.Payne@pre-school.org.uk.

What is an example of service design?
This is when every element is considered such as: expert opinion as well the opinions of the people for whom the service is intended and, data to identify how great the need of the service is, and then this information is used to design how the service will be delivered.

What is an example of a service? This is an activity, like a training programme, or provision of help in particular matters like breastfeeding or introducing solids.

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