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Implementation – what helps and what hinders it?

Strategies which improve implementation were the focus of the most recent Implementation Network meeting in Dublin in November.

Over eighty people from Ireland and Northern Ireland attended the event. They included government departments, people working in health, children and young people services, NGOs and researchers.

The keynote speaker was Byron J Powell from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Byron’s area of research involves implementation strategies, i.e. methods and techniques which enhance the adoption and implementation of programmes and practices. Gathering data, engaging with and informing stakeholders, funding, restructuring and training are all examples of implementation strategies. Bringing these strategies into the real world isn’t straightforward – attitudes, lack of knowledge and organisational culture can sometimes prevent them from being used effectively. Current research emphasises the need to describe strategies using a common language and to track and report on them. These can help us understand how and why they work and in what context.

The Implementation Network promotes and shares learning about implementation of policy and practice in human and social services, including health, education, children and young people and justice. Membership is open to staff from government departments, public bodies, community and voluntary organisations and the research community in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Meetings take place twice a year. For more information contact Casey Devin – cdevlin@effectiveservices.org.

You can find the presentation slides here.