Two colleagues discussing work

Active Implementation: making a meaningful difference

We are dedicated to making positive and lasting improvements in the wellbeing of children and young people living in and on the edges of care.

We're all working in challenging times, but rich with opportunity to improve children's services in Scotland. The children's sector is much clearer about what changes are needed to make a difference to children and young people's well-being, and more ready and committed to deliver on these changes.

But knowing what works is different from being able to apply this and make the changes necessary to improve outcomes for children and families. This deficit of what is known and what is done is called the 'implementation gap'. We aim to reduce this gap by taking an innovative, evidenced-based implementation approach.

What we know doesn't work?

The best available evidence tells us the most common approaches used to implement change are insufficient. Used alone, approaches like:

  • disseminating information, evidence and learning
  • delivering training (no matter how well done)
  • developing and implementing policy
  • providing funding
  • reorganising structures

have not been shown to produce the expected return on investment related to the types of health, education, and social care outcomes of most concern.

What works?

An expanding collection of evidence and lessons learned from implementing change means we know what combinations of approaches are needed to make meaningful change happen. To do this, it is important to decide:

  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • What interventions are available and will be effective?
  • What organisational support is needed to implement and sustain effective practice?
  • What political, regulatory, financial, and partnership arrangements are needed?

Making a meaningful difference

We promote the best use of available evidence about what works well for vulnerable children and their families as well as what works well in relation to systems change. Here are a set of effective practices we apply in an integrated way to guide our change efforts:

  • Select or develop well-defined, effective approaches that are teachable, learnable, doable, and readily assessable.
  • Use data to support learning and improvement.
  • Develop strong, collaborative relationships among stakeholders.
  • Identify the core implementation supports needed to implement, scale-up, and sustain effective practices.
  • Develop local capacity, in the form of teams, to guide, manage, and sustain the implementation and scale-up the process.
  • Use improvement cycles and processes to support teams and organisations efficiently to solve problems and become more effective.
  • Identify systems barriers and facilitate resolution.

These practices create an enabling environment for everyone working to address and prevent social problems and improve the outcomes of children and young people.

Looking for support?

Our team are always here to help. Get in touch

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