Iriss business plan 2017-18

A summary

Our 2017/18 business plan supports the Iriss Strategy 2015-2018 and the delivery of Social Services in Scotland: A shared vision and strategy 2015-2020.

Improving use of evidence

Social Services Vision and Strategy support

We will offer strategic and practical support to the Social Services Vision and Strategy 2015-20, with actions relating to leadership, education, research priorities and funding/commissioning. 

Evidence provocations and implementation

We will host a series of workshops for policy makers and practitioners which will use provocations and examples to share and capture evidence that is being used, and demonstrate how it's being used.

Improving use of evidence: practical applications

We will support the development of a new sector-led Centre for Homelessness Impact in Scotland in partnership with Crisis and Glasgow Homelessness Network. It involves contributing to the Personal Outcomes Network (PON) as part of its co-ordinating group.


A project that involves the publication of four concise, accessible and peer-reviewed evidence summaries on topics of interest to the social services workforce, drawing out implications for policy and practice.

Building on our podcast, we plan to produce at least 12 episodes. Episodes are produced to coincide with Iriss projects and events, such as Insights, as well as promote other key sector projects, policy, research and events.

Dundee Early Intervention Team (DEIT) Partnership

This project will involve supporting the Dundee Early Intervention Team to capture evidence and learning about the difference their partnership model makes.

Improving digital skills

Personal Learning Networks

This year we will deliver a six-week online learning module will be run as a stand-alone module over Q2, 3 and 4, allowing practitioners to sign-up and complete in their own time. It will enable practitioners to be confident and competent at using social media to find, use and share evidence and information. Reviewed, repeat courses for University of Strathclyde and University of Dundee are also planned.

Transformation of digital knowledge for social services

We will support the implementation of the Transformation of Digital Knowledge for Social Services, collaborating with partners to deliver three Demonstrator projects which include: (a) Evaluation of search engines to provide access to national knowledge sources (b) Creation of a knowledge suite signposting users to priority tools and resources (c) Proof of concept of a repository of local reports of learning from improvement and innovation work.

Supporting improvement and innovation

Evaluation, impact and practice

This involves delivering two action learning set events designed to help participant third sector care organisations connect with each other, and share resources to help them implement evaluation, impact and policy-informing strategies.

Supporting workforce challenges

We will host a series of workshops to enable social services teams to reflect on their experience as practitioners and develop ideas for how they can improve the experience for themselves and colleagues. The View from Here resources will be used to open up conversations and reflection. Case studies will be an output.  


A series of workshops that will support the use of, and embedding, the Iriss suite of co-design tools in various contexts. 

New National Care Standards

Working with two mixed groups from two local areas, each with a different focus (Adults and Children’s services), this project will use action learning sets to develop ideas for implementation, and test and refine responses to new care standards. The learning will be captured and shared with the sector to inspire, inform and prompt, implementation.

Service users and carers in social work education

This project will reflect on the journey of service user and carer input to social work education. It will result in digital case studies to inspire practice; meta-analysis on lessons learned; and explore ways to realise challenges and future hopes and ambitions.

The Young Person's Journey

A partnership with CYCJ to create of an online resource providing information for young people navigating their way through the criminal justice system.

Care Inspectorate - engagement and improvement

Building on previous work between Iriss and the Care Inspectorate, the project will focus on how inspection processes can support improvement. We will work to scale and embed the improvement approaches and tools created during the first phase of the collaboration in 2016-17.

BYOE (Bring your own enquiry)

This project will evaluate the impact that a Community of Enquiry approach has had on the individuals and organisations, and the action plans they developed, during the first phase of the project. This will balance evaluating the CoE process itself, with the organisation and subject specific impacts.

Mental health and prevention

A project which follows a six-stage experience-based co-design process. This year we will focus on stages 4-6: co-design meetings; design team improvement work; and celebration. The project works with a cohort of regular A&E attenders with mental distress, and practitioners, to develop more suitable integrated pathways to treatment. 

Big Idea: Getting there

We will track the impact of the projects supported in Falkirk over 2016-17. The learning about place-based working and the process of community and partnership engagement will be shared. 


A series of hands-on workshops (HOW) on topics such as: measuring for outcomes; risk; getting evidence into practice; and effective communication. This will promote the sharing of learning, embed change, and help people create relevant and engaging communications.

Community based social work

We will create case studies as part of a suite of tools and resources showcasing what community social work looks like, involves, and what it is able to achieve. It will reflect both the voices of social work practitioners and the clients and communities that they support.

The emerging workforce

A collaboration with university heads of social work, the College Development Network, SSSC, SWS and SASW to support the emergent / newly-qualified members of the social services workforce. It will involve the planning and delivery of national conferences.

Enhancing leadership capability strategy (in partnership with SSSC)

Leadership logic model

The research underpinning the revised national leadership strategy, explored the use logic modelling to understand and illustrate leadership development in social services. This project will involve working with a group of sector partners committed to testing the logic model in practice. Learning and practical examples will be gathered and shared with the wider sector to help inform them about the ways in which the logic model can be implemented.

Leadership, management and supervision

Iriss and SSSC will explore with partners the relationship between management and leadership, including styles of each and how they interact with a view to potentially further developing existing resources to support the workforce. Supervision will be a lens through which we explore management and leadership.