Publications by staff and associates
New publication: 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 (Utting et al. 2007), 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.
Reference: Utting D., Monteiro H., and Ghate D. (2007) Interventions for children at risk of developing anti-social personality disorder London: Policy Research Bureau and Cabinet office
Implementing social pedagogy in fostering services: New publication from The Colebrooke Centre and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University
This new report 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 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:
New publication on the national prototype of the Adoption Support Fund (2014-2015)
The Department for Education has just 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
New journal article on how an implementation lens helps us move from effective programmes to effective systems
From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families Ghate D. (2015) published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology on Taylor & Francis Online.
Free to download and share at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15374416.2015.1077449
Publications for the SHINE Trust – Let Teachers Shine
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, which is SHINE’s 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:
- summary of key concepts and frameworks used in our implementation readiness evaluation, and the learning from the first year’s analysis
- summary of key learning from the two-year evaluation
New publication on My Baby’s Brain in Hertfordshire
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 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 has proved to be highly successful, with strong impacts on practitioner knowledge and confidence, and much useful learning for the field of implementation.
Two papers are now available:
New publication on Adoption Support
The Colebrooke Centre recently 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 the coalition government is placing renewed emphasis on adoption support provision and the need for market expansion, the project provides important strategic insight into the nature of service provision across universal, targeted and specialised services. It addresses 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.
Two papers are now available:
- 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.
New publication on systems leadership for public services
Leadership is one of the key drivers of implementation. The Colebrooke Centre has recently completed the first major study of systems leadership for public services (leading across multiple services and systems) for the Virtual Staff College in collaboration with the Centre for Health Enterprise, Cass Business School, City University, London. A suite of papers is now available:
- a core Synthesis Paper drawing together the learning across the study and a standalone executive summary
- a review of international evidence on systems leadership
- a report of strategic interviews with UK systems leaders
- a report of ‘leadership scenarios’: three UK case studies of systems leadership in action
- and four international studies providing insight into systems leadership in other jurisdictions: USA, Canada, Denmark and Australia
See also the Virtual Staff College page on systems leadership.
New 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.
A suite of papers is now available:
- a full report on the study
- an executive summary for practice and policy readers
- a technical summary for researchers
- background and technical information on the
Parent Coping Scale