Information and resources about a variety of conceptual and practical issues important to designing and delivering public services in complex, multi-agency settings.

Community anchors 

Community anchors can support complex partnership and participation. Our resources include studies of exemplar community anchors, and their role in public service reform and local democracy.

Community engagement

Graphic showing the seven standards of the revised National Standards for Community Engagement with additional details about how they look in practiceSupport for community engagement. Resources include the national standards, research on issues of inequality, and developing skills for facilitating meaningful and useful engagement.

Community sector and its relevance to public service reform

Community written in printed letters pinned on to a cork noticeboardThe community sector can have a key role to play in the development of public service reform in Scotland – partnering, leading and challenging. In an ongoing inquiry, we outline why we think the community sector has that potential.


Small section from a graphic with seven insights for public service rerform from Operation Modulus. The text is cut off midway though the sentences.Co-production can change the relationship between those who develop and deliver services and those who use them. Our insights include analysis of successful examples and reflections on issues and opportunities in co-production.


An introduction to minipublics, what they are and how they work. There are some examples that What Works Scotland has worked with and reflections on what we have learnt from these experiments.

Participation requests

Participation requests allow community groups to make formal requests to take part in decisions and processes that affect their community, but are they having an impact? See the latest research.

Participatory budgeting

Participatory budgeting is a different way to manage public money. Our materials include reviews of participatory budgeting in Scotland so far and its potential for community empowerment and social justice.

Place-based approaches

Place-based approaches can cross policy sectors and silos but they must be linked to wider investment and poverty reduction strategies if they are to have an impact. Get our key resources.

Tackling poverty locally

How can we use evidence to challenge stereotypes and address poverty? Collaborative action research inquiries, seminar materials and approaches to dignified food provision examine this in detail.

Third sector interfaces

Our work has focused on how third sector interfaces (TSIs) can improve their participation in community planning and better represent their local third sector organisations.