Latest project updates from IRISS

Two IRISS projects have got underway over the past couple of months and another is in development. Here is an update on the three: ‘Evaluation exchange’, ‘Reflecting on evidence use’, and ‘Imagining the future’.

Evaluation exchange: Self-evaluation through peer support

This project, a partnership of IRISS and Evaluation Support Scotland, is now live and kicking – the first meeting was held on 31 October 2012. The objective of the project is to firstly create, and then support, a small network of self-evaluators across social services in Scotland. Primarily by facilitating peer support through the network, but also providing some expert input, the project aims to improve skills and confidence around evaluation for project participants, which will in turn lead to increased capacity for evaluation within their organisations. IRISS hopes to learn how peer support can be helpful in enhancing evaluation capacity across social services and how best to enable this.

The first meeting involved ten peer evaluators from various third and statutory sector organisations, who are working on evaluating projects in fields ranging from substance misuse to supporting people with communication difficulties. It was a productive meeting with a defined plan for how to move forward. The second meeting will be held on 5th December. You can read more and keep up-to-date with progress on the project blog.

Reflecting on evidence use

IRISS is working with East Lothian GIRFEC and Child Protection Quality Improvement Sub-group (a standing group established by East Lothian Community Planning Partnership and East and Midlothian Child Protection Committee) to look at how well principles and processes associated with GIRFEC and Child Protection are embedded throughout the partnership and how this can be improved.

IRISS is facilitating the group to take an action research approach to aspects of this issue and through this hopes to capture and share how evidence can be embedded into processes and practices in a local authority (and beyond!), and how an action research approach can support this. So far, IRISS has been involved in two meetings and is reflecting on some really interesting issues around the inter-disciplinary nature of the group, working to help the group establish their priorities. The group is beginning to take action around capturing and using narrative evidence from the children and families supported by services.

For further information on either of the above projects, please contact Emma Collins .

Imagining the future

In the New Year IRISS and partners will be engaging in some crystal ball gazing. Over the next 10-15 years there are likely to be significant changes both in the numbers requiring access to support and in the strategies for responding. The aim of our Imaging the Future project is two-fold: to seek to anticipate and detail the major changes and challenges in the context within which the workforce will be operating and support will be negotiated, and secondly, to explore a range of initiatives and potential developments which may facilitate responses to this future environment.

The focus of the work will be on three key themes: the workforce, personalisation, and design and technology. We are commissioning two leaders in the field to work with us on two of the themes (Simon Duffy for personalisation and Kevin Doughty for design and technology); the third will be tackled in-house. For each theme a ‘think piece’ will be developed, designed both to set the context and to present an authoritative view on potential future scenarios. Invited workshops will be held before and after the production of each of these drafts. An event bringing the three themes together will be held at the conclusion of the project.

Once the scoping documents have been finalised, a range of resources drawing on the skills of the IRISS team will be developed to support ongoing debate. The aim is that this should be a piece of work which provides a backcloth for discussion and further work over the coming years.

For further information on this project, please contact Alison Petch .