Improving the way we work

In 2012 CLIC Sargent began a strategic improvement programme called Better by Design, with the aim of making a permanent saving of £1 million in our costs by making the ways we work more effective and efficient.

Why we wanted to improve

We knew that there were gaps in support for children and young people with cancer, and set a goal to close the key gaps by 2018. As well as raising more every year (so that we had 50% more funds for our services by 2018) it was vital we prepared for that growth by reviewing our ways of working to make sure we used our resources as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Our approach

We rejected arbitrary cost cutting that could have affected the quality of support we provide, and looked to models from the private sector that would allow us to get to the root causes of inefficiency, improve quality and drive improved performance.

We examined how key aspects of our operations were being carried out and used that evidence to develop and deliver improvements, shifting the culture of our teams and embedding a commitment to continuous improvement along the way. 

The results

After two years of change, we are proud that we have made improvements that have led to savings and additional income worth £1.1 million every year, exceeding our original target.

Better by Design has achieved great results. For the children, young people and families who rely on us, it means we are on track to meet our aim of growing our services and reducing unmet need by 2018. For our supporters, it means assurance that every pound donated to CLIC Sargent is being spent wisely – and that our priority is meeting the needs of children and young people with cancer now and in the future.

Along the way we’ve learned a lot about how to go about a programme like this, both the benefits and the potential pitfalls. Having reached our goal, we are reflecting on our experience and assessing possible lessons for CLIC Sargent and for the wider charity sector.

The report

You can read all about Better by Design in our report 'Better by Design: Pursuing excellence’:

Find out more

If you have any queries about the Better by Design programme, please email: