How do you involve a range of busy public servants in something which aims to make an impact on a complex problem in a short space of time?
This was the challenge faced by the Youth Mental Health Pathfinder Team. The Pathfinder is one of nine projects underway in the Goal Programme on Public Service Reform in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Youth mental health is a serious concern for policy makers around the world, including Ireland and Northern Ireland. Approaches to challenges like youth mental health involve different departments, service providers and stakeholders, and require collaboration if they are to have any chance of succeeding.
The Youth Mental Health Pathfinder introduced new ways of working in the Department of Health, based on collaborative problem solving. 15 Days, a report just published by CES tells the story of how the team attempted to get to the heart of the problem, came up with some practical actions, and engaged leadership in the public service with their proposals. You will find information about tools and processes which were used to support collaboration and problem solving all in the report.
The Pathfinder process which involved a team of twelve people was facilitated by Peter Thomas and Andrew Templeman, both of whom brought extensive experience of working with government in the UK. CES was part of the Pathfinder team. Our role involved providing knowledge of how the issue has been approached in other jurisdictions, along with practical support in using and analysing data.
A toolkit to accompany this report will also be available in the coming weeks. While the Pathfinder process focused on youth mental health, both the report and the toolkit offer practical guidance and invaluable resources for any public servant involved in tackling complex problems which require a collaborative approach.
In the Autumn issue of the CES Ezine you can read about new developments in our work supporting public service reform in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Out Supporting Families and the Children's Recent Network.
New resources that are featured in this issue include '15 Days', a new report from the Youth Mental Health Pathfinder project, one of the first resources to emerge from this work, and The Leaders Digest, our new blog series for leaders in public services in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This is a framework developed for organisations delivering services, to help them identify areas of strength and areas of improvement within the services they deliver and the organisation themselves. The framework covers five dimensions, these include Design, Delivery, Monitor, Determine Benefit and Sustain.
How do you build an evidence based case for the impact that you want to have? This tool is part of a DIY Toolkit developed by Nesta. It helps you think about the impact that your project may have on other people and organisations, and to identify any issues quickly.
The development of a National Framework for Recovery in Mental Health is one of 29 high priority national projects currently being managed by the HSE Mental Health Division for implementation in all Mental Health Services nationally. The Mental Health Division, Strategic Portfolio and Programme Management Office (SPPMO) is supporting the delivery of these projects as part of the large scale reform of mental health services in Ireland. The SPPMO includes a small team from CES with skills in programme and project management and clinical practice, and has already developed a project management methodology, produced tools and delivered training to support managers and other professionals in the mental health services.
Recovery is intrinsically about people experiencing and living with mental health issues in their lives and the personal goals they want to achieve in life regardless of the presence or severity of those mental health issues. The approach was first outlined in A Vision for Change, the national mental health policy document published in 2006. A key priority for the HSE Mental Health Division is to further embed the shift towards recovery, person centred, evidence based service and to develop a National Recovery Framework which will support service providers around the country to implement this approach. A range of different stakeholders are involved in the development of the Framework, including service users, family members and carers, service providers and academic organisations.
Over the past number of months we have been working with the HSE Mental Health Division to develop the Framework. First of all, we managed and facilitated a number of activities to help reach agreement on a shared understanding of Recovery. We reviewed learning and identified risks from previous projects, and helped to ensure that the framework was aligned with existing initiatives. The next steps involve us supporting the Mental Health Division in the design and production of the framework publication, a resource which will be used by service providers.
The work is an important step in supporting the HSE Mental Health Division to move forward with their strategic priority of becoming a recovery oriented service.
The Children’s Research Network recently launched several new offers to its members as well as a new research training programme for practitioners and people new to children’s research.
New members can now avail of a structured research mentoring programme for practitioner researchers and other professionals engaged in research with children and young people. Practitioner researchers may not have access to the same level of support and supervision as academic researchers.
The new programme is particularly relevant for early years educators, youth workers, social workers, teachers and research interested professionals working with children, young people and/or families. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or are looking for someone to mentor you in your research endeavours, please read on, fill in the below expression of interest form and email it to email@example.com. For more information, please visit http://www.childrensresearchnetwork.org/activity/news/new-research-mentoring-programme.
CRN’s new training programme is a Research Skills Summer School running into the autumn and winter and consisting of weekly workshops on various aspects of research with children and young people. Workshops are held every Thursday evening between 6pm and 8pm. Workshops to date have included research design, academic writing and publishing, quantitative methods and recruitment and sampling. Upcoming workshops include applying research to practice, qualitative methods, statistical analysis and reporting findings, amongst others. A full list of workshops and details of fees can be found here: http://www.childrensresearchnetwork.org/activity/events/research-skills-summer-school-for-practitioners
Watch this short video about the Goal Programme – a new phase of our work which began in 2015. We are working with six government departments in Ireland and Northern Ireland to support them to implement nine new projects.
In September we launched the CES Leaders Digest, a new blog series for leaders in public services. Over the next few months, the Leaders Digest will tackle some of the critical challenges facing leaders in public services today. What is the role of leaders in implementing reform in public services? How can leaders engage teams and stakeholders in collaboration across government departments and agencies?
We look at what research tells us about the role of leadership in public services, but we will also hear insights from experience in public services in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
How to empower vulnerable families in Northern Ireland to respond to a range of challenges was a key theme emerging from a Masterclass with groups on the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Out, Supporting Families Programme in early September. The programme provides funding for thirty-six projects. Each project is delivered by a partnership, and works with families with complex needs, ranging from sight loss, mental illness, or disability. They may be coping with bereavement, or dealing with adoption. Since 2015 CES has been working with groups funded under the Programme. We organise a range of learning and networking opportunities for groups, and are helping them to implement and evaluate their projects over a seven year period.
Some of the barriers that vulnerable families face in accessing services include poor access to transport or childcare. Stigma was identified as a complex cultural barrier which can discourage vulnerable families to seek out the support they need. Engaging men or fathers was also seen as a challenge for some services. Over thepast two years, projects on the Programme have developed different approaches to respond to these challenges, and shared their experience during the event.
Shirley from TESSA reminds us recognised the importance of cherishing parents to make a difference to infants #EngagingFamiliesNI
Six groups funded under the Programme gave short presentations about their work and identified some of the challenges and what they were learning. Some common themes emerged from the presentations. Respecting, valuing and supporting parents is critical to improving their children’s outcomes and wellbeing. This involves recognising parents as partners, building good relationships with them based on trust, being flexible and managing their expectations.
Engaging with existing structures and networks within the community, such as Family Support Hubs and schools, and using social media were just some of the ways that groups were reaching vulnerable families. Informal events, outreach and partnering with other community organisations helped to overcome stigma.
Our quarterly Ezine includes updates on work we have been doing with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and the HSE. New resources that are featured in this issue include the fifth summary in our ‘On the Right Track’ series on the topic of Inclusion and Diversity, and a podcast about the kinds of organisational cultures that contribute to high performing organisations.
CES has been working together with the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) to identify the skills and competencies needed by intermediary organisations providing implementation support. The Global Implementation Practice Profile outlines the skills and competencies required to build the capacity of people and organisations so that they can implement new policies, interventions and approaches effectively.
We've just published our Annual Review for 2016, which describes our work with government departments and service providers. You can also watch this short video featuring some of the highlights of our 2016.
A new summary in the On the Right Track series is now available, on the theme of Inclusion and Diversity.
This is the fifth summary in the On the right track series, based on evaluations of fifty two programmes and services delivered in Ireland over a twelve year period. Programmes were funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and government, and used prevention and early intervention approaches to improve outcomes for children and young people in areas such as learning, health, behaviour and parenting.
Over the coming months, the Children’s Research Network will make available a number of grants to support further research with data from evaluation studies conducted under the Prevention and Early Intervention Initiative in Ireland.
Over the past three years we have been working together with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, in putting evidence at the heart of the Agency’s work, and in building the confidence of social workers in their work with children and families. The Empowering Practitioners and Practice Initiative (EPPI) is a three year project to support social workers in Tusla to deal with the challenges they come across in their practice.
Dr Jack Golden was appointed as the new chairperson at the CES AGM in May. He replaces outgoing chair Dan Flinter.
Jack is a Chartered Engineer by background, and has extensive interest and experience in the field of leadership. He was awarded a Ph.D. in International Business Leadership at the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2012.
‘Leading for the future’ is the theme of one of the nine projects included under the Goal Programme for Public Service Reform in Ireland and Northern Ireland. We are working with six government departments in Ireland and Northern Ireland on the programme.
The Leadership Development Programme under Goal involves Deputy Secretary officials in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. We consulted and designed the programme together with the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 2016, and since February, Deputy Secretary Officials have been completing the Programme in two separate groups.
The Strategic Portfolio and Programme Management Office (SPPMO) provides the HSE Mental Health Division (MHD) with access to experience and skills in change management and project management as they implement a major programme of change in mental health services in Ireland. In 2016 the SPPMO, which includes a small CES team, developed a project management methodology, produced tools and delivered training to support managers and other professionals in the mental health services. The team is currently supporting the HSE MHD to manage and implement 23 high priority national projects.
National Clinical Guidelines are evidence-based ‘best practice’ statements, which aim to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of decisions across health services in Ireland. The Department of Health has published 14 National Clinical Guidelines, covering areas such as palliative care, various forms of cancer and prevention and control of MRSA. There are also another 16 National Clinical Guidelines currently at various stages of development.
Our March Ezine highlights some of work supporting public services in Ireland and Northern Ireland, along with some new resources. Read more about what the evidence says about coaching and mentoring, in our second Access Evidence resource. The summary outlines some key messages and what they mean for frontline practitioners working with children and young people.