How do you fix a broken system?

New report sets out 12 lessons for successful systems change from impactful domestic abuse perpetrator programme

Join us on 4th November 2020 between 11am-1pm for a discussion on systems change as we share our learnings from the report ‘Changing Lives, Changing Systems'. The event will be hosted by Emily Bolton, Director at Social Finance and Duncan Shrubsole Director of Policy, Communications and Research at Lloyds Bank Foundation alongside members of the Drive Project Board.

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:

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.

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 Programme Steering Group, 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:

“Levels of domestic abuse rose during the Covid-19 crisis and Drive worked hard to ensure that we continued to keep victims and survivors safe while holding perpetrators to account.  When we setup Drive, we spent a lot of time investing in getting the right people and partners on board.  Having these strong relationships in place was essential in quickly adapting our model to respond effectively to the challenges brought by lockdown.”

This is the first in a series of reports looking at systems change in different social issues.  For more information and to download a copy of the report visit the Social Finance website.


For further information contact:

Social Finance – or / 020 7770 6836 #5160

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales – / 0738 502 4687

About Social Finance

Social Finance is a not for profit group that creates better solutions to social problems in the UK and internationally.  We partner with the government, the social sector and the financial community to improve people’s lives through better public services, a stronger voluntary sector and a clear focus on outcomes.  We combine data science, financial insight, service design and social issues analysis. For more information visit:

About Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales partners with small and local charities who help people overcome complex social issues.  Through funding for core costs, developmental support and influencing policy and practice, the Foundation helps charities make life-changing impact.  The Foundation is an independent charitable trust funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group.

The Foundation has always supported charities tackling domestic abuse but wanted to do more to tackle the problem at source by challenging perpetrators.  The Foundation therefore invested over £1m in the Drive project to help it develop and to measure and evaluate its success as well as being a member of the Programme Steering Group.  As part of its work to influence policy and practice and to inspire, inform and encourage others the Foundation has funded this report to share the learnings from Drive.


About the Drive Project

Drive was developed in 2015 by RespectSafeLives and Social Finance – the Drive Partnership – to address a gap in work with high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. Drive believes domestic abuse is not acceptable or inevitable. Drive works with high-harm, high-risk, and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse to prevent their abusive behaviour and protect victims. High-risk, high-harm perpetrators are those who have been assessed as posing a risk of serious harm or murder to people they are in intimate or family relationships with. Drive challenges perpetrators to change and works with partner agencies – like the police and social services –  to disrupt abuse. Drive advocates for changes to national systems so that perpetrators posing all levels of risk can no longer get away with abusive behaviour and can access the help they need to stop.


About this report

The Changing Lives, Changing Systems: lessons from reducing and preventing domestic abuse report outlines 12 lessons for effective systems change.  These are:

  1. Start with the problem, rather than a pre-determined solution
  2. Bring together the right organisations to tackle the problem
  3. Show that a new approach is possible in practice
  4. Build for impact – test and evolve your model and develop the evidence that it works
  5. Establish the right structures for collaboration and engagement
  6. Find and work with the right people
  7. Invest in relationships at every level
  8. Invest in making it work
  9. Be ambitious for change
  10. Tell as well as show – develop a new narrative to reframe the problem
  11. Work with the context – go with the grain of the system at the same time as stretching it in the areas that matter
  12. Find the right funding mix to enable these ways of working
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