We’re not always great at celebrating what we do well in Scotland across the social services. Let’s change this!
By highlighting what is working, we can all learn from each other. Sharing evidence in social services can help inform practice and service development and improve how we work.
It’s important to recognise evidence covers a variety of things. It encompasses all ways in which people use their own knowledge and experiences of social services. It can include practice wisdom and craft – knowing what works and what doesn’t, research findings, evidence based on performance data and importantly direct experience about what matters to those you support.
Last year we received some fantastic entries to the Scottish Social Services awards. They used a range of research and evidence, a lot of which is easily accessible and doesn’t cost the earth.
For example, feedback from service users, partners and stakeholders gathered from surveys and just talking to different people featured highly. Others took the initiative to review existing research and best practice, keep up to date with the latest studies and thinking or go on training courses. It doesn’t always have to be about formal research or independent evaluation.
Our making evidence real winner last year was Renfrewshire Council who used research and evidence to inform its Criminal Justice Team’s UP2U domestic abuse programme. The judges said that as well as using evidence to inform practice, the team also carries out ongoing research to ensure it stays current and is a powerful example of a considered project.
Loretto Care’s Fullarton Project showed thought leadership and used consultation with service users at its home for adults with alcohol related brain damage. The judges declared it a winner because it demonstrated clear leadership, putting people and their own strengths at the heart of what they do.
Most of us working in social services are already using our experiences to inform the way we work, so I would encourage everyone to think about how they could enter an award and share what they do.
Claire is the Director of the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ)