Near Me in Social Services

Published on 4 Feb 2021
Near Me


Near Me in Social Services is a project that Iriss has been leading in partnership with the NHS Near Me and the Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Programme over Autumn/Winter 2020/21. Links to resources and outputs from the project will be added to this page as they are produced.

To avoid any confusion, particularly if you're reading this page from outside Scotland, note that Near Me is the branding used by many Scottish public sector organisations for the Attend Anywhere video consulting platform.

Building on the rapid escalation of video consulting in health settings over the early stages of the Covid19 pandemic and existing policy drivers for technology enabled care, this project is producing new evidence around the priorities, enablers and challenges of using video consulting in social services. To do this the project has taken a blended approach:

  • Support 5 services to trial the use of Near Me in their practice through an intensive Quality Improvement (QI) cycle. Participant services in the QI group: West Lothian Criminal and Youth Justice team; East Lothian Duty and Response Team; Fife Council Children and Families Disability Social Work; Wheatley Group - Fullarton Service; Angus HSCP
  • Gather evidence and learning from established social care settings that have experience in the use of Near Me
  • Provide light touch improvement support to a number of social services organisations interested in exploring how Near Me could be used in their practice
  • Bring these services together to collaboratively share learning and experience through a Learning Network

Project objectives

  • Identify areas of delivery that are most suited to beginning the use of Near Me
  • Collate existing evidence around use of video consulting from the health context and also from social services already using video consulting, or started some form of engagement with Near Me
  • Review existing training and guidance for using Near Me, and inform sector-specific training and guidance
  • Support wider uptake of Near Me by social services in Scotland.

Near Me Learning Network

Iriss is hosting five Learning Network sessions between November 2020 and March 2021. The themed sessions include; tools and techniques to support remote communication; digital awareness; developing training and learning materials; shared learning from the Quality Improvement group and about QI methodology; looking to the future.  Outputs from these sessions will be published on this page as they become available.

Working in this collaborative and evidence-based way, the Learning Network aims to inspire, energise and influence members and wider stakeholders, thereby advancing work around Near Me in Social Services.

The Near Me Learning Network offers a safe place for members to:

  • explore their use of Near Me
  • share their learning
  • resources
  • stories
  • and gathering evidence of impact Episodes

Listen to Louise Bowen (Project Manager, Iriss) Near Me in Social Services - an introduction

Listen to Janet Crozier (Knowledge Manager, Knowledge Services, NHS Education for Scotland) Near Me in Social Services - tools and techniques for remote communication.

Listen to Aaron Slater, Digital Participation Manager at SCVO speak about digital inclusion.

Listen to Tanya Anderson, GIRFEC Development Officer at CrossReach – using Attend Anywhere to provide counselling support. 

Listen to Gillian Fyfe, Head of Digital at Alzheimer Scotland, speak about their experiences of using Near Me to provide support to those living with dementia, family members and professionals.

Getting started with Near Me

Information to help you plan for using Near Me in your service can be found here. A one page 'Getting Started' guide will be available soon. National guidance for Implementing Near Me in Social Services is currently in development and will be added to this section when it is published.

The links below will take you away from this page to other websites.

Quality Improvement

Find out more here about how by using a Quality Improvement (QI) approach helps develop people's knowledge and skills in bringing Near Me into social services.

Content coming soon.

Stories from the sector

Here you will find stories from different services about their Near Me journey in written and video form.

This recording is from Scottish Digital Health and Care Learning Network Webinars Near Me: Care Inspectorate and Penumbra. 

In this webinar Yvonne Leathley, Senior Improvement Adviser, Care Inspectorate discusses how person- centred care can be delivered through near Me, and Nigel Henderson, Chief Executive, Penumbra, describes how Penumbra has used Near Me to provide the Distress Brief Intervention in Aberdeen and Moray since the start of Covid-19 when they had to withdraw face to face meetings. The webinar was recorded 25th May 2020.

Share your story

We'd love to share your Near Me story. Download the template and get in touch!

Evidence and further reading