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Practical steps for

making services and policy 

The Delivery Book is a practical, step-by-step guide to help you make services and policy in challenging circumstances. It gives you the techniques to make services that work inside complex environments, deal with uncertainty, and put the needs of people that matter the most at the heart of your work. 


This is the latest version of The Delivery Book. It has been updated to reflect the United Nations' advice on making services in emergencies and the feedback of people who are currently making services. 


The activities are modular, so you can deliver your service or policy as fast or slow as you need. If you work intensively at pace, you could test ideas for your service or policy within 2 weeks. Alternatively, you could spread your work out over a longer period. The activities are grouped into 3 stages:

Understand your problem

These activities will help you to pinpoint the intent of your work.  They will help you map what is known about the problem space and give you a plan to find out what you don't know.

Make sense of evidence

These activities will help you to analyse the evidence that you have collected, focus it around the needs of people that will use your policy or service, and tell others how you will make things better.

Create ideas to test

These activities will help you imagine the features of your service or policy based on new and historical thinking about how best to work with people.

Our story

The activities and ideas in this step-by-step guide came from over 100 UK-based experts in the design and delivery of public services, including people who have worked at the heart of the UK's national government.

 It focuses on the steps they identified as being most helpful to other people who are trying to deliver brilliant services and policy. It provides 30 practical activities that people can use to make a service or policy in a complex and uncertain environment.


The guide has been updated several times based on feedback from people who are currently making services. This latest version has been iterated to address the new and extraordinary circumstances that we all face. It features the best parts of several models, including:

Cluster Approach

In 2005, the United Nations, as part of its humanitarian reform agenda, introduced several new operational and policy elements to enhance predictability, accountability and partnership. The Cluster Approach was one of the new elements. It is the UN’s backbone for coordinating multiple stakeholders in humanitarian emergencies. These events are highly complex and uncertain delivery environments and the iteration of their model over the years provides insightful features that can be adopted by others who are making services or policy.

Systems thinking and complexity science

The theoretical models that are emerging from these fields provide new ways for understanding complex and uncertain environments. Models that were originally developed to understand the natural world, like scaling or networks, are increasingly seen as helpful for providing insight into our social systems. The activities in this guide give you simple applied techniques for using them in their every day work. 

User-centred design and behavioural science

The UK government has developed a good reputation for making services around people’s needs. This was initially based on Government Digital Service’s success with delivering GOV.UK and more recently a community of officials are applying this learning to the delivery of non-digital services; the techniques that they utilise are incorporated in this guide. The UK government has also led the world in incorporating behavioural science thinking into its design of public services. Some of the techniques used by the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insights Team have been developed in this guide to help you refine the choice architecture of your service.

Industrial product design and agile development

There are a number of ways of working that have been developed by industry for prototyping services with the objective of rapidly developing services that deliver value to customers. The guide primarily incorporates Agile and Lean project management techniques as these have primarily been developed to deliver services in uncertain environments.

Remote working to enable collaboration without personal contact

This latest version of The Delivery Book has been updated to enable people to collaborate with each other remotely using tools like video conferencing, job management tools, virtual whiteboards, etc.

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