Case Study

System change case study: Drive

by | Nov 3, 2021

Youth Futures Foundation has gathered this case study to help applicants to our Connected Futures Fund understand the kinds of things that might be involved in collective local efforts to change the ways that systems work. We recognise that the fund is not like ordinary project funding, and we hope you will find some of these case studies helpful prompts as you think through your application.

You do not have to copy or draw on this example at all. It is only an example, and it won’t all be relevant to you and your context – feel free to take what you need, and ignore the rest.

We will not give preference to applications that look like this example. We want to see your ideas for changing how things work.


What is it?

Drive aims to keep domestic abuse survivors and families safe from “high harm, high risk” perpetrators by tackling the cause of domestic abuse – the behaviour of perpetrators. The Drive approach has been proven to reduce abusive behaviours and risk to victims and survivors.

How does it work?

There are currently 17 Drive projects across England and Wales, managed by a central Drive partnership of 3 organisations with specialisms in protecting victims / survivors, working with perpetrators, and innovation. Local delivery is typically funded by Police & Crime Commissioners, while the central team is funded by a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. This funding mix allows projects to be tailored to the local context and partnerships, while still sharing a common Drive “DNA”.

In each project, dedicated Case Managers, based in a local domestic abuse charity, work directly with perpetrators to change their behaviour. They work closely with other agencies, including police, probation, housing, health and children’s services. Through regular multi-agency case conferences, they support joined-up responses to keep victims safe. These include services such as helping perpetrators address their substance misuse; risk management such as ensuring that they are housed away from their victims; and where necessary re-arrest.

What makes this an example of systems change?

Drive has changed how agencies responsible for criminal justice, child protection and victim support work together, improving information-sharing and collaboration. The different strengths of the Drive partners have helped them win the trust of different local organisations who often did not have good relationships with each other.

Most of all, it has contributed to a change in mindset, from “why doesn’t she leave?” to “why doesn’t he stop?”. For example, social services often remove children from women with abusive partners, in effect punishing them for the abuse they receive. In Drive areas, children’s services increasingly recognise that addressing perpetrator behaviour is key for child protection.

Elements of systems change:

  • Developing innovative services to demonstrate new ways of working in practice
  • Improving multi-agency coordination, information-sharing and collaboration
  • Refocusing existing services and resources (to find solutions rather than respond to / manage problems)
  • Asking new questions to encourage new ways of thinking and working (from “why doesn’t she leave” to “why doesn’t he stop”)
  • Using data and evaluation to build local buy-in and make the case for wider change


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