This is an archived newsletter: please see the latest one on the Most recent newsletter page.

July 2017

We were very pleased to co-host a lecture by Naomi Eisenstadt, Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the Scottish Government last week. The lecture is now available to watch again online: please see below for a link. We’ve also got plenty of resources for summer reading including the output from our collaborative work with practitioners in Fife and Glasgow.

And if you’re getting away for holidays, have a relaxing break!

What Works Scotland events

Preventing and mitigating child poverty

Thursday 31 August 2017, Edinburgh

This event, organised by What Works Scotland and the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, is an opportunity to explore the evidence and issues surrounding actions to tackle child poverty. It will launch Tackling child poverty: Actions to prevent and mitigate child poverty at the local level, an accessible, action-oriented evidence review produced by What Works Scotland’s Evidence Bank.

The event is currently fully booked but you can join the waiting list on Eventbrite

Poverty, schools and inequality: reducing the cost of the school day

Friday 29 September 2017, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian

This event will provide an opportunity to understand the impact of the costs of school  – uniforms, school trips, activities and learning materials – on the poorest parents and reflect on how the Pupil Equity Fund might be used to effectively tackle inequalities and reduce the attainment gap.

Book your free place on Eventbrite

Past events

Naomi Eisenstadt lecture – Review of the Life Chances of Young People

This lecture marked the launch of Naomi Eisenstadt’s second report to the Scottish Government as Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality. Her report focused on the life chances of young people in Scotland, and the main themes are employment, housing and mental health.

Watch a recording of the lecture on the What Works Scotland website

What Works in Economic Regeneration?

This seminar was part of the process related to a What Works Scotland report examining what works in place-based economic regeneration in Scotland. The event included a presentation by SURF and an opportunity for delegates to contribute to the debate.

See the presentations on the What Works Scotland website

People, Prejudice and Planning: Community-based responses to promoting equality and tackling hate

Run jointly with the Scottish Community Development Centre, this was an opportunity to hear about, and learn from, the experiences of community-based projects working locally to combat prejudice.

See the presentations on the What Works Scotland website

Latest resources from What Works Scotland


Glasgow’s Participatory Budgeting Evaluation Toolkit

Graphic illustrating the Participatory Budgeting evaluation process. Four arrows point from one to the next starting with one labelled Aim, then Planning, then Process, then Impact. Underneath are pieces of text that relate to each arrow, as follows: Aim: What to do we want to achieve?, Planning: How good is our leadership?, Process: How good is our delivery of key processes? Impact: What key outcomes have we achieved? All four sections have smaller arrows in both directions up up to each individual section and down to a piece of text that underlies all four sections which asks ''What is out our capacity for improvement?'This toolkit was produced by practitioners in Glasgow’s Participatory Budgeting Evaluation Group, working with What Works Scotland in a collaborative action research process, to assess the impact of participatory budgeting activities and develop an improvement plan. It can be adapted by anyone for use in your own context.

Download the toolkit, an improvement plan template and a participatory budgeting evaluation poster


Resources from the Fife collaborative action research programme

Eight people in pairs, each pair holding a large differently coloured jigsaw piece and slotting them togetherWhat Works Scotland has published a collection of resources from our collaborative action research programme with Fife Community Planning Partnership.

The programme involved three inquiry groups, an overarching strategy group, and a range of events, meetings, resources, and tools.

The collaborative action research inquiries in Fife focused on welfare reform, family learning, and partnerships to support pupils with additional needs. Each inquiry group produced a report of its findings. Two other reports consider the overall programme and reflect on the processes of undertaking collaborative action research across the inquiries.

Get all the reports, blog posts and resources from the Fife page on the What Works Scotland website


Sharing our findings from new approach to police-community engagement

What Works Scotland is sharing its findings from a trial of a ‘mini-public’ process to enable communities and public services to interact more meaningfully. Read the summary of process where what Works Scotland joined forces with police, fire and council services in the North East of Scotland to experiment with a citizens’ jury

WWS evidence about mini-publics used in parliamentary reform report

The Report on the Scottish Parliament, published recently by the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, includes ideas for democratic innovation based on research and evidence from What Works Scotland. Find out more about our work on participative decision-making, community engagement and governance.

Policy lessons from health taxes: a systematic review of empirical studies

What Works Scotland PhD student, Alex Wright, has co-authored a paper about taxes on alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products. The paper contains a systematic review of the research on health taxes, and aims to generate insights into how such taxes can reduce consumption ; generate revenues for health and distribute the tax burden efficiently and equitably; and be politically sustainable.

Spotlight on capabilities and health inequalities

At this Glasgow University event chaired by What Works Scotland, Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram spoke on Why Health Capability? The necessity for conceptual clarity in pursuing health justice. You can see a summary of the event  and our work so far on exploring how the capabilities approach can be used as a framework for understanding public service reform.

Book launch – The People’s Verdict: Adding Informed Citizen Voices to Public Decision-Making

In this event Claudia Chwalisz presented the key findings of her book, The People’s Verdict, a study of 50 long-form deliberative processes, where randomly selected citizens have played key roles in decision-making.

Latest blog posts

Facilitative Leadership: Involving citizens and communities in local decision-making

A new era of community participation in local democracy requires public services staff to learn new skills for collaborative engagement. In this blog post Claire Bynner Oliver Escobar and Wendy Faulkner describe our project to create a training course that develops and cascades skills in facilitative leadership.


Two PhD studentships are available at the Scottish Children’s Neighbourhood, an innovative collaborative approach between the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and What Works Scotland within the University of Glasgow. One is to develop programme of research exploring the relationship between place-based approaches and improved educational outcomes for young people living in challenging circumstances. The other studentship will have a more community focus, supporting a research student to develop an innovative and novel programme of research exploring the use of community development. Find out more on the University of Glasgow website .

There is a Housing and the Use of Predictive Analytics PhD Scholarship available at new UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) funded by the ESRC, AHRC and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Find out more on the University of Glasgow website

Closing dates for both are 7 August 2017.

Opportunities, events and resources from other organisations


  • The Public Policy Institute for Wales has won £6m funding to create a new Wales Centre for Public Policy, a new research centre which will help to ensure that governments and public services have access to the best available evidence to help them tackle major policy challenges. It is funded by Welsh Government and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Centre will be launched in October 2017.
  • There’s still time to apply to the £1.5 million Community Choices Fund, which supports participatory budgeting projects in Scotland, particularly in deprived areas, which will significantly expand opportunities for more local people to make decisions on local spending priorities and contribute to local participatory democracy.  It’s open to local authorities and other public bodies, as well as community organisations and community councils. The closing date for applications is midnight 21 July 2017. Get more information about applying on the PB Scotland website
  • IRISS is looking for a Knowledge Manager – a researcher or librarian to work on an evidence search and summary service to help people working in Scotland’s social services to obtain, use and better understand evidence.  Apply on the IRISS website. The closing date is 24 July 2017.
  • SURF is looking for a part-time Research and Administrative Assistant. The two-day per week post will be based in the Govan office in Glasgow. Apply on the SURFwebsite. The closing date is 31 July 2017.
  • The SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration are open for nominations delivered each year in partnership with the Scottish Government, the purpose of the Awards is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland. The SURF website has information about how to enter. The deadline is 18 September.


  • The SURF Annual Conference is taking place in Edinburgh on 31st August 2017. The Conference will explore the question ‘What has regeneration ever done for us?’ It will ask what has changed? What’s been gained and what’s been lost? Have our collective efforts and investments so far been enough to overcome the forces of degeneration? Most importantly, what does our collective experience so far tell us about how we should address future challenges and opportunities?
  • This year’s Public Health Information Network for Scotland Seminar is on Friday 29th September 2017 in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Places are free but limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The full programme and details of how to register are on the ScotPHO website


  • The Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, which aims to support children and young people globally in achieving their potential in life, has been launched by the University of Strathclyde It aims to support children and young people globally in achieving their potential in life. The Institute brings together the existing expertise of the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice and academics and staff members from across the University of Strathclyde, and beyond.
  • The Health and Social Care Academy aims to provide a cross-sectoral platform for transformational change in health and social care in Scotland through the lens of lived experience. It has published a paper on the concept of participatory budgeting, and its potential impact on how spending decisions are made about health and social care in Scotland.

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