What Works Scotland is delighted to announce that we have secured funding for an extra year.  This will allow us to consolidate and further spread the learning that we have learnt from our collaborations with organisations and individuals from across the public sector in Scotland.

A pile of colorful crumpled post-it notes with question marks

Nick Watson, Co-director of What Works Scotland said: “We now have a strong evidence base on the practices, structures and processes that underpin successful reform in the complex, multi-agency  settings that today’s public services have to work in at a  time of unprecedented levels of change and uncertainly locally, nationally and globally.”

“Our aim from now until December 2018 is to draw together the findings from the in-depth collaborative action research work we have carried out with our community planning partners and our other work to consolidate and share our learning.”

Audrey MacDougall, Chief Researcher at the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government are delighted to be working in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council to continue joint support for a further year for this innovative research collaboration.

“The Scottish Government set a clear strategic direction for public service reform built on four pillars: a decisive shift towards prevention; greater integration and collaboration between public services at a local level; greater investment in people, in workforce development and leadership; and a sharp focus on improving performance.

“What Works Scotland has brought academics, policymakers, practitioners and service users together to work in new ways, identifying how to increase the scale and pace of public service reform and improving the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and implementation while moving to a system of prevention, meaningful partnership and collaborative working.

“It is anticipated that a further year of funding will enable building on the foundations over the first few years of the project, consolidating the reform evidence, translating it into practical reality and spreading and embedding this, particularly across local areas.”

Natalie Jones, Senior Manager and Deputy Head, Interdisciplinarity and Impact, at the Economic and Social Research Council, said: “What Works Scotland is an important investment for ESRC and we are delighted to be able to fund an extension to their work, alongside our partners in the Scottish Government. The What Works Scotland team has developed deep collaborations with front line services since it was set up in 2013. This further investment will enable What Works Scotland to spread knowledge of what works in making public services better to more partners across Scotland and the wider UK.”

Our focus on inequalities and outcomes

During this time What Works Scotland will place particular emphasis on developing evidence-informed learning to challenge existing inequalities, with a focus on outcomes.

The key issues for this work will be:

  • partnerships and collaborative working
  • outcomes and evaluation
  • building community capacity
  • prevention
  • leadership

What Works Scotland has worked with a range of community planning partnerships, statutory and third sector organisation and other bodies to explore what works and what doesn’t in public service reform.

Coloured strings interwoven and some strands twisted together Our model of evidence to action recognises that generating evidence is a collaborative process, and that by working together we can generate new ways of thinking and doing.

As well as working intensively with four case sites on a wide variety of issues, What Works Scotland has held more than 40 events with almost 2,000 attendees. We have worked directly with 22 local authorities and have contributed to continuing professional development in community planning partnerships, the third sector and central government. All our publications are available on our website.

Our approach has influenced ongoing work and there have been a number of new developments that built on our work including a research project that aims to understand more about the people who make a difference in communities, a new centre to generate housing evidence and a children’s neighbourhood project to find new ways of working in delivering public services for children.

The ideas emerging from our work are already supporting the implementation of collaborative public service reform (PSR), including insights into the complex dimensions of leadership, governance, scrutiny, partnership, community engagement and prevention.

This additional funding from the  Scottish Government and the Economic and Social Research Council will ensure that we can spread our learning further. The Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are also continuing their support.

Professor Watson said: “Whilst we are already enhancing public service reform through sharing our knowledge of what works across these and other topics, the extra year will significantly extend this knowledge exchange work and substantially increase our engagement with people responsible for designing, delivering and using public services.”

“We’re looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with practitioners to ‘translate’ our research findings into useful resources, including evidence-based solutions, training, programmes, toolkits and frameworks.”

See more about the What Works Scotland programme

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