New webinar series for teacher researchers

We recently launched a series of webinars for teachers who are interested in, or involved in research. The series is part of our collaboration with the Teaching Council. According to the Council, research by and for teachers is an important aspect of their professional development. The series aims to provide practical support and guidance for teachers who want to enhance their research skills.

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Read our latest Ezine

A new toolkit packed with collaboration and problem solving tools, thoughts on systems leadership from mental health sevices in Ireland, and the latest news on some of our project news from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Read about the Children's Research Network conference in December, and take a look at some new online resources we think that you will like.

What next for the Big Lottery Fund Impact of Alcohol Programme?

Speakers at the Impact of Alcohol conference

Over the past five years, the Big Lottery Fund Impact of Alcohol Programme has funded projects in 31 different organisations in Northern Ireland. Alcohol misuse is a problem for many communities in Northern Ireland, and projects aim to reduce the harm that alcohol causes to children and families. Projects address a range of issues related to alcohol misuse, such as physical and mental health problems, accidents and violence, debt and poverty, family issues and pre- and post-natal harm.

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The HSE Nurture Programme -  Parents have their say

We are providing implementation support to the HSE on the Nurture Programme – Infant Health and Wellbeing, a programme of work designed to improve the information and professional supports provided to parents during pregnancy and the first three years of their baby’s life.

The HSE want to hear the views of parents of young children and expectant parents to help shape the development of new resources which will be produced as part of the programme, including a new website.

One of the ways that parents’ perspectives are being gathered is through an online survey. The survey will be live until January 8th.

Help the HSE to improve pregnancy and child health information. If you are a parent, or planning to be a parent, please fill in this survey. You can also share this link widely with your personal and professional networks.

What’s new online

Four recent online resources we think you'll like

Delivering Equality in Public Services (E Learning- Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) 

This e- learning initiative is aimed at frontline workers in public services. The course provides an introduction to equality in service delivery. It is practical, focusing on the day to day work in the context of equality law.  

Click here 

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Learning from implementing public service reform

Public servants attending the first Goal learning day

The Goal programme involves us working with eight government departments in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  We are supporting them to implement nine different reform initiatives in the areas of health, education, mental health, children and young people, and civil service reform.  

One of the aims of the Goal programme is to share learning across participating departments and more widely about the experience of implementing reform. Government departments involved are committed to this as the programme develops.  

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Evidence informed toolkit launched for social workers

CES Chair Jack Golden with Cormac Quinlan, Tusla

Tusla has launched an online toolkit for social workers to support them to use evidence in their work with children and young families. The toolkit was launched at a conference showcasing our work with the agency on the Empowering Practitioners and Practice Initiative (EPPI), a project which encourages greater use of evidence in social work practice.  

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Involving children in research - Children’s Research Network Annual Conference

How to engage children creatively in research, involving seldom heard young people in participatory research and designing educational programmes together with families. These were just some of the themes emerging at the sixth annual conference of the Children's Research Network which took place at the end of November.  

The conference was opened by Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, and keynote speeches considered the theme from research, policy and practice perspectives.  

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‘15 Days’ – a story about collaborative problem solving in public services

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. 

Read our quarterly Ezine

Have you read our latest Ezine?

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.

What’s New Online

The Confidence Framework

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.

Click here


The Evidence Planning Tool (Nesta)

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.

Click here


Homelessness (PublicPolicy.ie)

Some key statistic on homelessness by region, and data on the educational profile of people experiencing homelessness are included.

Click here


Co-production – how we make a difference together (Scottish Co-production Network)

This is a suite of resources, including, videos, case studies and information to promote understanding of co-production. It gives a number of examples about how co-production can be used.

Click here

Towards a National Framework for Recovery in Mental Health

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.  


Our role 

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.  

News from the Childrens Research Network

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 mhbrosnan.crn@effectiveservices.org.  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

CES Leaders Digest - Learning together about leadership in public services

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.

The Leaders Digest is available on Medium. You can sign up to receive each instalment as it is published - just email leadersdigest@effectiveservices.org.

Engaging vulnerable families - a Masterclass in 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.

Barriers faced by vulnerable families

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

Working in partnership with parents

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.

For more information about our work with groups on the Programme, contact Melanie Stone, mstone@effectiveservices.org

Read our quarterly Ezine

Have you read our latest Ezine?

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.  

New Global Implementation Specialist Practice Profile

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. 

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