How What Works Scotland has contributed to public service reform in Scotland, and examples of our impact and influence on other organisations

Colored splashes in abstract shape with small coloured dots splattered around the central shape

What Works Scotland has acted as a key catalyst for public service reform in Scotland.

Our work has engaged with the system to challenge assumptions, expectations and professionals’ and community practice to enhance the effectiveness of public services and the outcomes they offer for the people they serve. This new relationship has involved developing innovative interactions between researchers, policymakers and practitioners and is key to rethinking how research and policy can interact to deliver the aspirations we have for Scotland’s future.

In three and half years What Works Scotland has produced practical tools for evaluating and implementing new projects, run learning events and workshops and published commentaries, literature reviews and research findings and publications.

We’ve also created collaborative partnerships and connections, and through these have exchanged learning, knowledge, skills and capacity with public service practitioners and other academics both in Scotland and further afield.

Here we’ve highlighted some of the tangible indicators of long-term change which illustrate putting Christie into practice, and direct benefits to individuals and communities. These examples show different types of impact, in particular our impact on academic, policy and/or practice, impact at local and national levels, and instrumental, conceptual and capacity-building impact.

For example:

The ‘train the trainers in faciliative leadership’ and toolkits for evaluability assessments and participatory budgeting are being used by community planning partnership practitioners to influence service delivery at a local level.

The What Works Scotland model has influenced the set-up of the new What Works centres in Wales and Northern Ireland; and the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) – a consortium of 13 partners led by the University of Glasgow.

During 2018 we also worked on a collaborative project with three other What Works centres – What Works Wellbeing, WWCP (?) and What Works Children’s Social Care –  to run policy laboratories during 2018, exploring how we can use devolved service design and delivery to compare and contrast effectiveness and efficiency and share learning.

The Children’s Neighbourhood Scotland initiative has secured additional investment for research in Glasgow, Dundee and beyond.