The London Borough of Lambeth

Winter 2013

The challenge

Lambeth Council wanted to understand the core values of their community better. They asked us to carry out some research using the psychographic tool Values Modes. The tool divides the population into three groups. The tool splits the population into three groups: altruistic Pioneers (driven by ethics and fulfilment), aspirational Prospectors (driven by ‘getting on’ and what others think), and socially conservative Settlers (driven by safety and security).

How we approached it

Younger people and BME groups are often within the Prospector category, and so it proved in Lambeth, with ambition, upward mobility, success against the odds and emphasis on the individual much more common. 54% were in this group, compared to 37% Settlers and just 9% Settlers (compared to 37%, 38% and 35% respectively for the UK as a whole. We made a series of recommendations about what the implications of this were for the borough, especially given that council staff would likely be disproportionately Pioneer.

What happened

The findings were used to reframe the issue of adoption. Fostering and adoption are often framed in terms of ethics and compassion, but in Lambeth wasn’t working – especially with the BME community. On the basis of the Values Modes findings, Lambeth created an online video which re-framed the issue in Prospector terms. It was called ‘Future Histories’ and told the story of a young black man, who went on to become Prime Minister. It stressed the role of his adopted parents as launchpad for his talent. It a four-fold increase in adoption enquiries, reaching 7m people across the country at an outlay of £0.002 per person.

TCC's innovative research has been transformative in helping us to understand and engage with our residents. We have applied the learning and as a result have seen significant improvements in satisfaction and achieved real impact on issues such as recycling, adoption and safety. We consider it to be essential in improving our performance and helping us save money for the people of Lambeth.

Julian Ellerby, Head of Communications Lambeth Council