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With partners across the country considering how to embrace public health reform, one of the issues being interrogated is measuring success. While methods will vary from area to area, there are common themes emerging. Lorraine Gillies, Chief Executive of the Scottish Community Safety Network says her organisation is already rising to the challenge…

“I have a huge interest in what good looks like and how we measure it. I also have a huge interest in putting people front and centre in the decisions and development of the services they use; something that goes to the heart of the public health priorities. It works – when people are bought in and the service design is right then the outcomes follow.

When we talk about community safety, we talk about communities being resilient, able to feel safe and to be safe. Able to use their local area, able to safely get to work, enjoy their leisure – we talk about vibrant, safe and healthy communities. This is the diagram that we use when thinking about the indicators for our national performance framework – it’s all there:

Inclusive empowered resilient and safe communities

Our new strategic plan will give you a good idea of how we think we can support Public Health Priorities. Our approach is all around prevention, whole-system thinking and collaboration. To help build on this momentum we’re holding a masterclass in Stirling this week (4 September 2019) with Eibhlin McHugh, co-director of the Public Health reform team and Neil Hamlet, Public Health consultant, NHS Fife.

The session will explore the intersect between public health and community safety, and how policy-makers and practitioners from both fields could work together in new ways to deliver priority one. It will bring together people working in both fields to create local relationships which will aid this future working, with collaboration vital for success on the ground (contact Dawn Exley if you’d like to get involved).

The focus on prevention is also central to our role with the Building Safer Communities (external website) executive group. Our ambition is to prevent unintentional falls and injury. We know that will be done through collaboration, sharing and use of good practice, measuring what matters and DOING what matters. When we talk to practitioners we know that they want to measure the thing that matters to them in a better way. They want to concentrate on the outcome, not the output. We wanted to help.

We worked with Evaluation Support Scotland and a range of practitioners including third sector groups, ROSPA, falls coordinators and public health specialists to co-design a framework that will help them evidence the work they do in preventing unintentional harm and injury.

We launched it at the Building Safer Communities learning event in June 2019 and intend to further test and roll out throughout this year. It’s already being used though and we are working with the Public Health reform team to use it to support their work on performance measurement. Have a look at it and see if you can use it in your own workspace. The framework (external website) includes a guide, logic model and a set of indicators. I’m super proud of it!  

This approach also chimes with my work with Audit Scotland to produce a set of principles for measuring community empowerment (external website). It aims to raise awareness of community empowerment and promote such a shared understanding across scrutiny bodies to support high-quality scrutiny of community empowerment.

So, with new ways of working being explored nationwide I think our experience in community safety has lessons for others to measure what matters in a meaningful way. I’d be glad to hear from others about how they think the landscape should change.

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