Patchwork – focusing on the individual in the public sector

The public sector deals with many intricate problems. Often, one unique individual is in need of aid from many different institutions, increasing the risk of miscommunication and lack of transparency. What if there was a way to coordinate and oversee each individual throughout the system?

Patchwork (UK) is an example of where a technology based initiative has created innovative and sustainable solutions for the public sector. There are similar needs for these types of solutions in Sweden and Patchwork presents one way to solve the problems at hand.

The need to protect those who cannot protect themselves

Patchwork came about as a consequence of the “Baby-P scandal”, widely published and debated in Britain. This was the story of a neglected 17-month old baby boy passing away in the inadequate care of his parents. This happened in spite of third party testimonials of violence in the home and as much as 60 home visits by social services. New solutions were called for in order to prevent the type of system failure that lead to the death of Baby-P.

A digital tool to coordinate public sector officials and actions

For two years, a team of experts on social technologies and service-design worked together with decision makers, families, children and public sector officials to identify the shortcomings of the current system. The conclusion was that there was a lack of communication between public officials.

The solution became Patchwork – a digital tool connecting public sector officials, working across social services, health care and psychiatry. The idea was to make sure that relevant and actionable information about a case became accessible to all officials involved. The program only shares basic information, without compromising any sensitive data and raises concern only if and when required.

The need for similar models in Scandinavia?

In Sweden, the state is very much present in our everyday life – we are dependent on it for many things. However, many people run a risk of falling between the seats, due to the complex structure and many intersections. There is a need of transparency also in Sweden. LSV think Patchwork is an innovative solution to a complex problem, which can act as one of many role models when working towards improved efficiency in the Swedish public sector.


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