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  • The implementation gap | Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation

    The i mplementation gap The Implementation Gap We have had decades of research dedicated to illuminating ‘what works’ to improve outcomes for children and families. Yet we are still not exploiting this knowledge fully. Often, good services - even those that have been proven to be effective elsewhere - lose their effectiveness when transplanted to different locations and systems. ​ There are many reasons why this might happen, but implementation scientists believe that frequently, part of the cause is an ‘implementation gap’: when the context or manner in which an otherwise effective service is delivered undermines its effectiveness. For this reason, attention to how services are delivered is just as important as what is delivered. Experts in service improvement identify a need to move from simply disseminating information about ‘what works’ to active strategies to embed that learning in policy and in daily practice: in other words, to move from ‘letting it happen’ via ‘helping it happen’ to ‘making it happen’. This is the focus of The Colebrooke Centre: not just finding out ‘what works’; but helping service providers and policy planners to make what works, work better. The focus of The Colebrooke Centre is: not just finding out ‘what works’; but helping service providers and policy planners to make what works, work better.

  • How we work | Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation

    How we work How we work The Colebrooke Centre is an independent non-profit company with a social purpose. It is funded by means of grants and contracts. The Centre is built around partnership and collaborations nationally and internationally with other centres of expertise. Our project teams are formed to provide match of skills and expertise to the requirements of the work. We are active participants in capacity-building initiatives for the wider professional implementation community including the UK Implementation Society . Deborah Ghate, D.Phil Founding Director, Chief Executive. Deborah has worked in social policy and intervention science for 30 years. Between 1998 and 2007 she was the director of the independent Policy Research Bureau in London. She has pursued a strong interest in ‘what works’ for children and families throughout her career and is the author of many publications that explore this question from different perspectives. She set up the Colebrooke Centre to continue work that she began at the Centre for Effective Services in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where she was the founding Chief Executive between 2008 and 2011. Read Deborah's Full CV dghate@cevi.org.uk

  • What we do | Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation

    What we do What we do We set up The Colebrooke Centre to help improve the effectiveness of systems and services for children and families by promoting and applying an evidence-informed approach to their design and delivery. We apply an evidence-informed perspective to assist in the design of better health and social care systems and services for children, families and others We undertake research and evaluation studies in the areas of intervention and implementation science and practice We apply learning and tools from implementation science to improve practice and delivery of services We inform and educate the research, policy and practice communities on developments in implementation science and its potential applications We synthesise and disseminate learning from international research and practice on all aspects of effective design and implementation of services for children, families and others We contribute to scientific, policy and practice debates in the field of implementation science and practice Research shows that all aspects of a service affect the ease and quality of implementation – from the policy and systems context, though its design, to its method of delivery. In turn, quality of implementation affects the results. We can assist policy makers and providers to use knowledge to improve all aspects of service implementation through tailored, hands-on technical assistance. The Colebrooke Centre offers a range of support and development assistance to policy and service providers, including: ​ needs analysis for the development of new systems and services service design using evidence-informed techniques and tools service review, benchmarking of implementation quality and best practice analysis and support research and evaluation on all aspects of implementation synthesis and analysis of implementation-relevant evidence tailored to specific organisational, system or project requirements developing in-house capacity in building and applying implementation and improvement know-how advice on evidence-informed organisational development and delivering change As longstanding researchers and analysts of what works, (and why, and how), we contribute to the national and international knowledge base through publishing and by engaging in practical and scholarly debates about service improvement.

  • Publications | Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation

    Publications Selected publications by the Colebrooke Centre Subject to copyright, users of this site are permitted to download and use materials posted by The Colebrooke Centre for research, charitable and non-commercial purposes, provided any use is accompanied by an appropriate acknowledgement of the author(s) and the source. Reports: The Family Links 10-Week Nurturing Programme: Developing a Theory of Change for an Evidence-Supported Design ​ ​ Evaluation of the Safeguarding Analysis and Assessment Framework London: Department for Education ​ ​ Implementing social pedagogy in fostering services: The Colebrooke Centre and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University ​ ​ Adoption Support Fund: Learning from the Prototype (2014-2015) ​ ​ Let Teachers SHINE: findings from the implementation readiness evaluation ​ ​ ‘My Baby’s Brain’ in Hertfordshire: the independent evaluation ​ ​ Adoption Support in Brighton and Hove ​ ​ Systems Leadership for Public Services ​ ​ The Development of The Parent Coping Scale Journal Articles: From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families ​ ​ Developing theories of change for social programmes: co-producing evidence-supported quality improvement. Book Chapters: Using evidence in social care. Ghate, D and Hood, R. (2019) ​ ​ ​ Reviews: How systems change can enable transformational and sustainable improvements in people’s quality of life and wellbeing ​ ​ ​ Journal Article: From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families An article on how an implementation lens helps us move from individually effective programmes to effective whole-systems Full citation: Deborah Ghate (2016) From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45:6, 812-826, DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1077449 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15374416.2015.1077449 Continue Journal Article: Developing theories of change for social programmes: co-producing evidence-supported quality improvement. A highly accessed article based on collaborative work with Family Links on their 10-Week Nurturing Programme. For much of the past two decades, expensive and often imported evidence-based programmes (EBPs) developed by clinician-researchers have been much in vogue in the family and parenting support field, as in many other areas of social provision. With their elaborate infrastructures, voluminous research bases and strict licensing criteria, they have seemed to offer certainty of success over less packaged, less well-evidenced locally developed approaches. Yet recently, evaluation research is showing that success is not assured. EBPs can and regularly do fail, at substantial cost to the public purse. In times of severe resource pressure, a pressing question is therefore whether lower cost, home-grown, practitioner developed programmes – the sort often overlooked by policy-makers - can deliver socially significant and scientifically convincing outcomes at lower cost and at least on a par with their better resourced cousins. This paper shows how the application of techniques increasingly used in implementation science (the science of effective delivery) could help level the playing field. Processes for doing this including co-produced theory of change development and validation are illustrated with reference to the Family Links Ten Week Nurturing Programme (FLNP-10), a popular manualised group-based parenting support programme, designed and disseminated since the 1990s by a UK-based purveyor organisation. The paper draws out general principles for formulating and structuring strong theories of change for practice improvement projects. The work shows that novel application of implementation science-informed techniques can help home grown programmes to compete scientifically by strengthening their design and delivery, and preparing the ground for better and fairer evaluation. Full citation: Ghate, D. Developing theories of change for social programmes: co-producing evidence-supported quality improvement. Palgrave Commun 4, 90 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-018-0139-z Full Paper Continue Report: The Family Links 10-Week Nurturing Programme: Developing a Theory of Change for an Evidence-Supported Design Having a formally articulated theory of change has long been known to be associated with more effective programmes but many programmes and interventions, especially those developed ‘in the field’ rather than ‘in the lab’, do not have one. This paper explains what a theory of change is, and describes a co-produced project by The Colebrooke Centre with Family Links to elucidate and validate a theory of change for their 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, building on and refining the historical programme design. The intention is to strengthen the implementation model and the focus for ongoing quality improvement, and to enable more properly tailored evaluation designs for the future. Full Paper Continue Report: Evaluation of the Safeguarding Analysis and Assessment Framework London: Department for Education A randomised control trial and implementation analysis by the University of Bristol and The Colebrooke Centre. Full report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-children-evaluating-the-saaf Continue Report: Implementing social pedagogy in fostering services: The Colebrooke Centre and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University This report on the implementation of an ambitious four year national programme to introduce social pedagogy into seven fostering provider sites in England and Scotland 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 also shows that implementing this kind of fluid and intangible approach is particularly challenging, at all levels. Planning and agreeing key parameters at early stages is particularly important to ensure that roles, responsibilities and methods are as clear as possible. Strong leadership is vital to prevent ‘fluidity’ leading to over-complexity; social pedagogues needed ongoing support in the difficult role of ‘change agent’; and finding effective ways to keep up the momentum once initial training was over was sometimes challenging. Organisational commitment was strengthened where there was seen to be alignment and potential for blending social pedagogy with other promising approaches to working in children’s services. There was, however, a persistent lack of clarity and agreement about how to define and implement a social pedagogic approach to fostering, and whilst all stakeholders firmly endorsed the principles and aspirations of social pedagogy as far as they understood them, some were much more persuaded of the difference from ‘good practice as usual’ than others. Reaching and influencing the wider system of care around fostered children also remained more of an aspiration than a reality. Whether social pedagogy in fostering can be implemented and sustained in the UK at scale other than through routine basic training of carers and social work staff is not clear. Three linked publications are available: Summary of key findings Main report S even implementation case studies of participating sites Continue Report: Adoption Support Fund: Learning from the Prototype (2014-2015) In 2015 The Department for Education published The Colebrooke Centre’s implementation evaluation and analysis of the year-long prototype development phase of the national Adoption Support Fund (ASF), which took place in ten local authorities around the country. Designed to extend access to therapeutic support for adoptive families across the country, three publications are now available: The research brief (a summary of key findings) The full research report A report on the findings from a survey of all English local authorities Continue Report: Let Teachers SHINE: findings from the implementation readiness evaluation The Colebrooke Centre undertook a two year implementation analysis project for SHINE, a grant-making trust which works to improve educational attainment among disadvantaged students. The project focused on ‘Let Teachers SHINE’, a funding programme for teacher-led innovation. Our work involved supporting the teacher-innovators to develop the theory of change underpinning their approach, assessing projects against the international evidence base for effective teaching approaches, and undertaking an implementation readiness evaluation including advising on scope and strategies for scale-up. ​ Although the full reports and strategy paper are confidential to SHINE, we can share two outputs from the study: A Summary of key concepts and frameworks used in our implementation readiness evaluation, and the learning from the first year’s analysis A Summary of key learning from the two-year evaluation Continue Report: ‘My Baby’s Brain’ in Hertfordshire: the independent evaluation The Colebrooke Centre, in collaboration with the University of Warwick Medical School 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 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. The multi-disciplinary initiative proved to be highly successful, with strong impacts on practitioner knowledge and confidence, and much useful learning for the field of implementation. Executive summary Full report Continue Report: Adoption Support in Brighton and Hove The Colebrooke Centre completed a project for Brighton and Hove City Council supporting the Council’s development of a multi-agency, city-wide strategy for post-adoption support. At a time when a coalition government was placing renewed emphasis on adoption support provision and the need for market expansion, the project provided important strategic insight into the nature of service provision across universal, targeted and specialised services. It addressed the fit of services with the needs of adoptive families; how service design and implementation can be strengthened; and key issues to address in taking forward in strategy development in the City. The full report, which Brighton and Hove has made available to its adoptive families as well as to relevant service leads and partner agencies. A summary of key findings for adoptive parents. Continue Report: Systems Leadership for Public Services Leadership is one of the key drivers of implementation. The Colebrooke Centre completed the first major study of systems leadership for public services (leading across multiple services and systems) for the Virtual Staff College (now ‘The Staff College’) in collaboration with the Centre for Health Enterprise, Cass Business School, City University, London. Core Synthesis Paper drawing together the learning across the study Standalone executive summary Review of international evidence on systems leadership Report of strategic interviews with UK systems leaders Report of ‘leadership scenarios’: three UK case studies of systems leadership in action Four international studies providing insight into systems leadership in other jurisdictions: USA Canada Denmark Australia Continue Report: The Development of The Parent Coping Scale Report and technical publications from a project to develop a simple, low-cost overarching measure of impact for family support providers. Voluntary and public-sector providers of family support are increasingly expected to provide quantifiable evidence of outcomes for service users at both national and local level. Yet the effort and costs of designing and carrying out evaluation studies to collect this information are substantial, and the results are often inconclusive. This suite of papers describe the results of an innovative methodological development project to develop new low-cost evaluation methods, conducted in collaboration by Home-Start UK, Deborah Ghate at the Colebrooke Centre, and the Centre for Effective Services. The aim of the project was to explore whether it was possible to develop a simple, low-cost overarching measure of the impact of Home-Start’s work with vulnerable families, to use as an adjunct to more comprehensive outcome evaluations and for self-evaluation at local level. Full report on the study Executive summary for practice and policy readers Technical summary for researchers Background and technical information on the Parent Coping Scale Continue Book Chapter: Using evidence in social care. Ghate, D and Hood, R. (2019) In: Boaz, Annette , Davies, Huw , Fraser, Alec and Nutley, Sandra, (eds.) What works now? Evidence-informed policy and practice (2019) Bristol, UK. Policy Press, pp. 89-109. Continue Review: How systems change can enable transformational and sustainable improvements in people’s quality of life and wellbeing This paper is a tailored review and overview of key literature on the topic of systems change. It was prepared for the Life Changes Trust, a charity based in Scotland, to explore a question framed by the Trust as follows: How can systems change enable transformational and sustainable improvement in people’s quality of life and wellbeing? The Trust commissioned this work to support reflection and learning to strengthen approaches and support for effective systems change in human welfare. The focus of the paper is on literature that is most relevant for services for people and for the human-created systems that bear most closely on their wellbeing. Continue Read Paper

  • Home | United Kingdom | Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation

    Helping what works to work better Welcome to the website of The Colebrooke Centre for evidence and implementation. The Centre contributes to building and developing effective services by applying insights and practical tools from implementation science and practice. The Colebrooke Centre was one of the first not-for-profit organisations in the world (and was the first in the UK) to use an implementation science lens to improve results in the field of child and family services. We believe that high quality implementation is the key to better results, and that high quality implementation is evidence-informed We use knowledge from science and practice to strengthen the design and delivery of services in ways that improve and preserve their effectiveness We harness the insights and tools generated in recent years by the movement towards evidence-based practice for the benefit of the widest possible group of services and interventions We collaborate widely with universities in the UK and abroad, and with other specialist centres and voluntary organisations. Since starting work in 2011 we have completed a wide range of projects ranging from complex research studies for central government, local government and large voluntary organisations to small, in-depth implementation support advice and consultancy projects. On this website you will find information about selected projects, publications and resources developed by The Colebrooke Centre. From 2021 – the Colebrooke Centre’s consultancy work has moved to Colebrooke Social Consulting IMPLEMENTATION Implementation is about active and planned efforts to identify approaches or interventions that work and deliver them in ways that maximise and sustain their effectiveness.