Doing what matters

“I want Devon County Council to help to build a Devon where I can live my life well”

Our purpose

We believe that our purpose is to help our citizens to live their life well in a way that makes sense to them.

Our purpose is what we understand that Devon citizens need us to do. It is the core that unifies all officers, leaders and elected members across the council, and gives us a common purpose with our partners across the public and voluntary sectors. It is the driver for everything that we do and every decision that we make.

This website is a space to share our learning as we follow this new approach.

Three elements of our approach

A principle-led approach

We believe that the best way to meet our purpose is to understand, and then do, what matters to our citizens. We’re going to make this happen by using a principle-led approach.


A whole systems approach

Currently our work is separated out in to services and teams – although this gives us a practical organisational structure, it constrains the way we understand our system from the citizen’s perspective and can limit our ability to meet need.


A leader-led approach

A leader-led approach to work does not mean a traditional, hierarchical, top-down way of working. It’s about working from the centre, and recognising that leaders are the people in the system who have the power to make truly systemic and sustainable changes.


Why are we doing this?

We need to think differently about what we do and how we do it. If we don’t change our thinking we will keep doing the same things and getting the same results.
Watch video - Cllr Barry Parsons

What are we doing now

Our purpose is a huge statement. To help us understand what meeting our purpose might look like in reality, we have broken it down in to nine more detailed areas.

Our nine purposeful systems

We think that these nine purposeful systems describe the areas where we should be working to meet people’s needs to help them to live their lives well.

Become and remain independent

This is about how we help people to live their lives in an independent way that makes sense for them.

Get the best start in life

This area looks at how we meet our purpose of ensuring that all children reach school age emotionally, physically and mentally ready to start school; and prepared for a successful academic journey.

Get from A to B

This area considers how easy it is for people to get from A to B to do the things that they want or need to do in a way that makes sense for them.

Help me to learn

This area looks at how people are supported to learn, develop and grow throughout their lives. How learning is made available and how our education system is designed to most effectively meet people’s needs.

Help to stay healthy

This area looks at how people are supported to maintain their health. It will also look at how people are fixed when they are unwell and how they are supported to stay fixed in the long term, to prevent them coming back in to the system unnecessarily.

Help me to keep my environment safe and looking good

This area looks at how well we understand what people need from their local areas, and how we support people to live in safe places which give them a good quality of life.

Help me to prosper

This area looks at the role Devon County Council plays in supporting sustainable economic growth in Devon.

Help me to keep safe

This area looks at how well we listen to understand and support vulnerable people to help keep them safe from harm. And how we meet the safeguarding needs of people who experience abuse; their families; carers and anyone who works with people with health or social care needs.

Help me to see that good decisions are being made

This area looks at the democratic system and how decisions are currently made in Devon County Council. We would want to understand the thinking and assumptions which affect our decision making and the systemic consequences of those decisions.