Earlier in the year, we invited people from practitioner, policy and professional bodies with an interest in using evidence to a Scottish Evidence Summit. The day was organised in partnership with Iriss. Thirty senior representatives, from health, social care, education, policing and housing in Scotland came to the event.
During the day people agreed a major role for evidence is to support service change. The default mode of commissioners, leaders and practitioners should be to look for the most effective approaches to achieving the change they want to see and using evidence to support them in doing that.
The key speaker, Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive of Community Justice Scotland emphasised that to be efficient and effective we need to know and understand what has already been done well before. However, it is not always easy to know where to find relevant evidence, or how to assess its quality and make best use of it.
In this video you can hear Karyn talking about why evidence is important to her, its role in promoting change and the challenges faced in using evidence.
Participants also made the point that evidence doesn’t speak for itself. We should take into account the context, and people’s experiences and priorities, when developing evidence-informed services and practices. Service leaders need to collaborate with citizens and service users in order to establish what outcomes are meaningful to them. These vital conversations and explorations can also be called evidence. The consensus was ‘evidence has to take many forms’.
As well as hosting presentations and discussions on the day, we collected survey responses from participants.We have collated the key messages from the survey, contributions from the speakers and discussions that took place on the day into an event report published in full on the Iriss website. We are grateful for the input of the speakers, all the support from Iriss before, on and after the day, and to Professor Nick Watson from What Works Scotland for chairing.