What Works Scotland is an initiative to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform.
We were set up to explore how public services could start to work towards the recommendations of the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services and the Scottish Government’s priorities for reform.
Our four key questions were:
How we workWe have modelled our method and our working practice on the emerging Scottish Approach to public service reform (PSR) as we have sought to learn what we can take from individual projects and interventions and spread this into system-wide change.
We have worked within, and developed, the four pillars of the Christie Commission report – prevention, performance, participation, partnership – and supplement that approach with a focus on place, an element that has become central to PSR in Scotland today.
We have worked broadly within a framework that explores how best to mobilise evidence , implement collaborative reform, and promote community empowerment in order to develop public services that improve outcomes and life chances for the people of Scotland.
Our model of evidence to action is based on recognition that evidence generation is a collaborative process and by working together we can help to generate new ways of thinking and doing.
Our work is highly collaborative and carried out in partnership: find out more about our partners.
Sharing and embedding what we’ve learntWe 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 approach to public service reform (PSR) is about:
This means synthesising the findings from our in-depth collaborative action research work across the four case site community planning partnerships and our other workstreams, to focus on specific conceptual and practical issues that our work has identified as being important to public service reform.
Co-production, collaboration and engagement with those who design, deliver and use public services has been a central tenet of our approach. We will continue to draw on our existing links and work with our partners and other groups as we pull our learning together to develop evidence- informed approaches to public service reform with a focus on outcomes.
We will work with representatives from the Scottish Government, CPPs and third sector organisations, community groups and other agencies and we will establish and foster new partnerships to take what we have learnt from individual projects and interventions and explore how we can best translate this into system wide change.
Continuing to work in partnership with practitioners, we will ‘translate’ our research findings into practical and useful resources, including evidence-based solutions, training, programmes, toolkits and frameworks.