Turning the lens

Realising Ambition is our UK-wide £25m programme supporting organisations that help young people to fulfil their potential and avoid pathways into offending. As part of the key learning
emerging from the work so far we asked Realising Ambition’s Programme Manager, Shaun Whelan of Catch22 to tell us more:

A key aim of Realising Ambition is to learn about what it takes to replicate effective services, improve the evidence base of what works for whom and why in avoiding pathways into offending and to help others ask the right questions about evidence, practice and impact.

In our fifth Programmementoring Insight, Turning the Lens, we argue that focus on organisational readiness to replicate cannot be ignored.  It is a key feature of effective replication and should be held in equal importance to the service itself.  After all, you can have the best intervention in the world but if the organisation is not able to deliver it then the intended outcomes won’t be achieved.  It would be like trying to drive a formula one car through Glasgow’s rush hour.  It might draw you some admiring glances but it wouldn’t get you very far.  So Turning the Lens outlines the characteristics an organisation needs to replicate a service effectively.  It considers how organisational ability can be assessed and how improvements can be identified, irrespective of the replication model being used.   

Scotland gives us rich mix of organisations contributing to Realising Ambition’s narrative, all with a different focus and emphasis.  Ranging from the large (YMCA Scotland) to the very large (Action for Children and Barnardo’s) to the small, compact, yet beautifully formed (Children’s Parliament and the Anne Frank Trust).

And the experience of Scottish partners has told us that replicating services successfully requires the right people working within an organisational framework that actively supports and enables them to adapt and improve services.  Organisations do this by making sure staff are given time and encouragement to reflect and improve on their practice.  Valuable improvements come when organisations actively build relationships with their service users, partners and stakeholders so that they understand the context for their service replication. Delivery organisations can also identify areas for improvement by gathering evidence – we believe that evidence does more than just prove that an organisation or a service works. Strong leadership within organisations enables them to maintain the core elements of the service whilst making the necessary, localised adaptations. And, lastly, strong governance structures that take into account how tough replication can be support leaders to carry out the improvements to their services.



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