Later this year the UK will host the Global Implementation Conference for the first time, in Glasgow. Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of CELCIS, GIC2019's co-host explains why CELCIS is an advocate for implementation science and practice, and explains why becoming being part of The UK Implementation Society makes absolute sense for the organisation.
Even the best policies, legislation, and guidance on best practice mean nothing if the services designed to support the most vulnerable in society don't meet their needs and rights. We all know this. We know this and there is enough evidence to tell us there is a gap. That gap - the implementation gap - is something we feel passionately about narrowing and is central to our mission to build brighter futures for children and families. It is by helping people to understand and design the best ways to implement changes that we can help to improve services and outcomes and avoid wasted effort, hopes and expectations, even when people are have the best intentions.
For us, The UK Implementation Society offers a fantastic, unique network through which we can make connections with those involved in and interested in progressing the field of implementation science and practice. We see this as a two-way process: we are keen to learn, and keen to share. As the only network based in the UK to support people and organisations exchanging knowledge and learning in this area, reaching out across the UK and making connections beyond the networks that we have fostered in Scotland are key benefits for us, particularly as we look to embrace implementation science and practice and welcome people to Glasgow in September.
The story of how we have arrived at our advocacy for implementation science and practice is probably not so unusual from that of other UK-IS members. CELCIS is using implementation science and practice to help address some of the most intractable difficulties that can be encountered when working to support children and their families in considerably individual circumstances where the need to protect children is paramount. We're an innovation centre, driven by the best evidence to guide practice and improve lives. We often hear the decision-makers say 'one size does not fit all' but how do you implement a system, process or service for many, when support needs to be tailored? Especially where this might concern the neglect of children? This is why we are investing in developing the knowledge and skills of implementation practice to help practitioners to be able to determine how to effect change at a scale.
Dr Melissa Van Dyke joined CELCIS as our Implementation Lead over three years ago now from the National Implementation Research Network in USA and working under her leadership, we have begun to build a skilled workforce within CELCIS, and through partners, to support organisations to build their own implementation teams to effect sustainable improvement at scale. We offer both tailored support, working hand-in-hand with local social services and training courses for anyone with an interest in how implementation practice might help them with complex system change. Supported by the Scottish Government, our work in this area is very much part of the agenda to reform public services across Scotland.
As an organisation on a learning path, we are building our own knowledge and skill relating to implementation practice and UK-IS provides us with a way to keep up to date with developments in England, North Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. But more than that, as we build up our experience further we are keen to share our learning with others, not least elsewhere in the UK, who have faced similar challenges and are pursuing similar goals. Through UK-IS there's a great opportunity for our researchers and consultants to make connections and build relationships, including, where possible, help to provide a peer network for staff who are building their professional identities and roles as implementation specialists. We are keen to play our part and now seems the optimum time to be part of UK-IS to contribute to collectively strengthening debate and discussion in areas where systems, services, practices may benefit from being more implementation informed in their approach to decision-making and systems change.
In September, the Global Implementation Society's GIC 2019 conference will take place in Glasgow and we are keen to welcome members to the event and ensure that with UK-IS we can secure a legacy for relationships, networks and learning generated at the event for those who are UK-based. More details here...
Jennifer Davidson is a Professor of Practice and the Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, a University network which also incorporates her role as Executive Director of the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), promoting the highest aspirations for the quality of public care experiences for children and young people, and secures their improved outcomes through the development of well-informed policy and the effective implementation of best evidence.
© UK Implementation Society, 2019
All views expressed are the author's own and not those of the UK Implementation Society.