Publication September 2020

First venture into systems change

Systems change work is difficult, time consuming, frustrating and messy. There are no rules to follow and the processes and outcomes are uncertain. It is a difficult space within which to work and a huge degree of patience is required.

Often some of the most useful learning emerges from situations which haven't quite gone to plan. With this in mind, we recently produced a paper sharing learning from our experience of supporting the Transforming Pathways programme which was co-designed and delivered in partnership with the CELCIS at the University of Strathclyde. The programme was established to improve the well-being of children and families living on the edges of care in three specific Local Authority areas in Scotland.

Primarily, our experience showed us that systems change work is difficult, time consuming, frustrating and messy. There are no rules to follow and the processes and outcomes are uncertain. It is a difficult space within which to work and a huge degree of patience is required. All partners need to agree what success will look like and believe that the prize at the end is worth the effort of getting there.

Our learning paper details some of these challenges and lessons, and will hopefully be of particular interest to other funders interested in working this way.

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