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News Archive



Summer 2022: In 2021, in a landmark vote, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill

To make this transformative change real, the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland, Matter of Focus and Public Health Scotland led a collaborative effort to develop a Theory of Change for the process of UNCRC implementation in Scotland. As part of this ground-breaking work, The Colebrooke Centre was delighted to be asked to provide consultancy and a rapid review of international literature on capacity-building for a project of this scope. Well, we do like a challenge! 

2022: Adapting the ImpRes Tool and Guide for use by social care researchers

Ongoing throughout 2022, Deborah Ghate is continuing consultancy work with the ARC South London team at Kingston University, Kings College London and St George’s University of London to adapt the well-received ImpRes Tool and Guide for use by social care researchers.  ImpRes was originally developed for health care researchers and is a resource consisting of a Tool and a reference Guide for researchers who may be new to implementation science, and who want to incorporate an implementation science perspective in their work.



February 2021: Systems Leadership back in the news

Our Systems Leadership work is having a moment again! In February 2021, Deborah Ghate recorded a filmed piece for SCIE (the Social Care Institute for Excellence) on the systems leadership research we completed for the Virtual Staff College. And a little bird told us that the work is also being circulated again in the context of current reviews of the NHS and social care.

February 2021: Colebrooke Social Consulting launched – a different kind of consultancy for the social sector

Responding to a changing social sector landscape in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, in February 2021 The Colebrooke Centre’s consultancy and advisory work moved to a new home at Colebrooke Social Consulting. The Colebrooke Centre continues to offer all its current services but all exploratory and scoping work for philanthropies, foundations, individuals involved in impact investment and service providers wanting to do highly-focused work for internal purposes will now be undertaken by Colebrooke Social Consulting. Colebrooke Social Consulting builds on the deep experience and expertise of the Colebrooke Centre but offers a more agile service aimed at both smaller and larger clients. 

Check out the website at for more information.


Early 2020: Expert advisory work for BBC Children in Need

In early 2020 Deborah worked with colleagues Tom Jefford (Family Psychology Mutual CIC) and Colin Green (independent consultant) to write a report to assist with the development of a grant programme for vulnerable children and families.  


Early 2019: Work with the Caldecott Foundation to review a Relational Model of Care in residential care for young people

In early 2019 The Colebrooke Centre was commissioned by the Board and the Chief Executive to complete a rapid scoping review for the Caldecott Foundation of their residential care work in Kent and the East Midlands. Deborah Ghate worked closely with staff across the organisation to scope how their relational model of care was understood and was being implemented across different sites and how different aspects of the organisation worked together around the model. 

October 2019: Colebrooke Centre goes DownUnder

In October 2019 Deborah was invited to Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia to spend a month as a visiting research fellow with Professor Ross Homel and colleagues in the Department of Criminology. While in Australia Deborah worked with the team on aspects of their CREATE project, gave an introductory workshop on implementation science and practice, visited local sites connected with ongoing work of the team, and developed papers on systems change and co-creation for publication. 



July 2018: Developing theories of change for social programmes: co-producing evidence-supported quality improvement

An article by Deborah Ghate, director of the Colebrooke Centre, on levelling the playing field between locally developed social programmes and their more expensive Evidence-Based Program cousins from overseas, using collaborative, implementation science informed methods. Published in Palgrave Communications. Open Access; free to download and share.



June 2017: Implementation for Scaling: new review

The Colebrooke Centre has recently completed a tailored review for the NSPCC on Implementation for Scaling. With reference to a number of programmes being scaled up by the NSPCC, this review sets out core themes from international research and key principles emerging from the evidence about effective and sustainable scaling practice.

May 2017: The UK Implementation Network applies for charitable registration as the UK Implementation Society, and hosts a Round Table at GIC2017.

The Colebrooke Centre has led on an application for a new UK Society, grown from the UK Implementation Network set up in 2014, to register as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Members will also host a Round Table discussion of other national and regional implementation networks and collaborations at the Global Implementation Conference (GIC) 2017 in Toronto in June.

February 2017: The Family Links 10-Week Nurturing Programme: Developing a Theory of Change for an Evidence-Supported Design: New publication

A new paper describing a practical implementation support project by The Colebrooke Centre has been completed for Family Links, a large voluntary organisation that designs and purveys a number of popular parenting support programmes across the UK. The paper describes the process and results of co-produced work to elucidate and validate a theory of change for a ten week group-based parenting support programme. The aim of the work was to improve the connections between the design of the programme and the evidence base about ‘what works’ in parenting support, and the paper describes the process as well as discussing the importance of having a theory of change when programmes want to achieve robust implementation models, mechanisms for ongoing quality improvement, and properly tailored evaluation. Click here for the paper and here to view it on the Family Links website



August 2016: Implementing social pedagogy in fostering services: New publication

This new report from The Colebrooke Centre and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University on the implementation of an ambitious four year national programme to introduce social pedagogy into seven fostering providers in England and Scotland is published ahead of final outcome and costs results (forthcoming, winter 2016). It focuses on the implementation successes and challenges in individual sites and across the group as a whole. Training for carers and some staff was well received and professional social pedagogues were successfully integrated into the work of several sites. In four sites, definite plans for sustaining and scaling up the approach in locally-appropriate ways were being made by the end of the period. The study shows however that implementing this kind of fluid and intangible approach is particularly challenging, at all levels. 



December 2015: Adoption Support Fund: Learning from the Prototype

The Colebrooke Centre’s implementation evaluation and analysis of the prototype phase of the UK government’s national Adoption Support Fund, an initiative to extend access to therapeutic support for adoptive families. Based on phased programme of analysis and data collection using an implementation science and practice lens, this study reports how ten local authorities in England implemented the early phases of this important national policy initiative from 2014 to 2015. DFE-RR467. Carried out on behalf of the Department for Education.

November 2015: From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families

Article by Deborah Ghate, director of The Colebrooke Centre, on how an implementation lens helps us move from effective programmes to effective systems. Published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology on Taylor & Francis Online.

Completed Projects in 2015:

  • Two reviews of adoption and special guardianship services, in Essex and Suffolk county councils.

  • Development of the theory of change, review of monitoring and evaluation processes, and piloting of an Overarching Impact Measure for the Family Links Nurturing Programme.  

  • Let Teachers Shine: an implementation readiness evaluation for the SHINE Trust - More details

June 2014: Payment by results in children’s centres evaluation

Recently published on the Department for Education’s website, Payment by Results in Children’s Centres Evaluation, completed in March 2013 by Frontier Economics in collaboration with The Colebrooke Centre and funded by the Department for Education. Click here for the report and research brief.

Click here for an article on the findings published in Children and Young People Now.

February 2014: ‘My Baby’s Brain’ in Hertfordshire: the independent evaluation

The Colebrooke Centre, in collaboration with the University of Warwick Medical School has this month published a substantial report on the impact and implementation evaluation of My Baby’s Brain for Hertfordshire County Council. Developed by Hertfordshire County Council’s Childhood Support Services, My Baby’s Brain is based on Five to Thrive, a ‘5-a-day’ style model developed by Kate Cairns Associates, intended to convey in simple, accessible language, to parents of very young children, the principles of attachment and the direct impact they have on a baby’s brain development. It recommends that parents focus on five ‘building blocks for a healthy brain’ when interacting with young babies: Respond, Cuddle, Relax, Play and Talk. The multi-disciplinary initiative has proved to be highly successful, with strong impacts on practitioner knowledge and confidence, and much useful learning for the field of implementation.

January 2014: Adoption Reform: A multi-agency city-wide adoption support strategy for Brighton & Hove City Council

The Colebrooke Centre is very pleased to be able to make available the report of a review, commissioned by Brighton and Hove City Council, of the services that might be used by adoptive parents as part of the Council’s development of a multi-agency city-wide strategy for post-adoption support. At a time when the coalition government has a renewed emphasis on adoption support, the report provides valuable strategic insight into the local adoption support system. Karen Devine, Team Manager for Adoption & Permanence at Brighton and Hove and the lead commissioner of the project, said:

“The Colebrooke Centre’s analysis of our post-adoption support system was very helpful in highlighting how we can strengthen local provision and cross-agency working and in identifying the key issues we needed to address in the development and implementation of a city-wide strategy for post-adoption support. Their work with us was a highly effective and constructive partnership and we are now taking forward many of the recommendations in their report.”

New Projects for 2014:

  • Adoption Support Fund - The Colebrooke Centre is delighted to announce that it has, in partnership with Adoption UK, won the competitively-tendered commission from the Department for Education to carry out a market review and implementation analysis to support the new Adoption Support Fund. The Adoption Support Fund is a major systems change initiative intended to stimulate the development of the therapeutic adoption support market and to provide smoother and faster parent-led access to high quality appropriate therapeutic support for families facing difficulties. Project summary.

  • Adoption UK - The Colebrooke Centre has been commissioned by Adoption UK, one of the leading providers of adoption support services, to carry out work to help to strengthen and develop key areas of service provision. The methodology uses an innovative approach to theory of change development, which we are currently co-developing with a number of family support organisations. Click here for more information. Project summary.





December 2013: Parent Coping Scale

This month The Colebrooke Centre is delighted to be publishing a substantial report on the development of an Overarching Impact Measure for family support providers, written by Deborah Ghate and Patricia Moran, based on a major pro-bono project for Home-Start UK. 

December 2013: Safeguarding and Analysis Assessment Framework (SAAF)

The Colebrooke Centre is delighted to be collaborating with Queens University Belfast on a randomised control trial of the Safeguarding and Analysis Assessment Framework (SAAF), funded by the Department for Education. The Colebrooke Centre will be leading the element of the evaluation that focuses on the implementation of SAAF in a group of Local Authorities across England.

November 2013: New publications on systems leadership

The reports of a landmark study on systems leadership led by The Colebrooke Centre have now been published. Leadership is one of the key drivers of implementation. This research, the first major study of systems leadership (leading across multiple services and systems) in public services, was commissioned by the Virtual Staff College and carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Health Enterprise, Cass Business School, City University London.

September 2013: New project working with Family Links

The Colebrooke Centre has begun an 18-month project for Family Links, to support further research and development of the Family Links Nurturing Programme which is widely used in local authorities across England and Wales. Using an implementation lens, we will work with Family Links stakeholders to explore and develop the programme’s theory of change and its implementation model, and explore options for developing a single overarching measure of the programme’s impact on parents.

August 2013: The Second Biennial Global Implementation Conference

The Second Biennial Global Implementation Conference took place August 19th -21st Washington DC: Colebrooke Centre staff were involved in the planning for this event. See for resources from the conference.

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