Change Projects

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The Change Project is a method of intensive engagement which enables participants to find solutions to specific challenges and results in new knowledge and resources.

Change Projects give Partners the opportunity to:

  • Explore the evidence around a particular problem or topic.
  • Bring together professional knowledge and research evidence.
  • Improve practice through the application of evidence-informed approaches.
  • Share new knowledge and resources with the wider network.



A focused and rewarding learning process

A group of participants from across the Research in Practice network come together with research experts and explore an issue over a development phase of 8-12 months. Research in Practice then produces resources which draw together the evidence and outputs of this collective learning. The resources are piloted across the network and refined accordingly. Final resources are produced, including practical exercises and interactive learning tools and made available to our network as well as non-partners.

 Change Project cycle chart

Change projects and how to get involved

Participation in a Change Project is only available to our Partners. See if your organisation is a Partner or discover the benefits of becoming a Partner.

Current Change Projects

Effective commissioner-provider relationships

Local authorities are increasingly working in strategic partnerships with each other and with voluntary organisations to deliver services for children and families. These partnerships require close working relationships and day-to-day co-operation that go beyond what can be described or enforced by a contractual agreement. These relationships rely on trust, respect and reciprocity.

This Change Project will work with local authorities and voluntary organisations in strategic partnerships to explore the characteristics of effective commissioner-provider relationships and the processes and practices that support the development of these effective relationships. The project will produce a pack of resources including summaries of research and learning from practice and tools for use by those entering into strategic partnerships. 

Previous Change Projects

Cost Calculator for Edge of Care Services 

Over the past two years the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR), Loughborough University and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) have been collaborating to develop an Edge of Care Cost Calculator for Children’s Services (EoC CCfCS) tool. The tool was designed to carry out longitudinal analysis of the needs, services and outcomes of children and young people on the edge of care and to provide analyses to inform value for money debates.

Partner organisations from the Research in Practice network will be developing and testing the conceptual framework and applicability of the Edge of Care Cost Calculator tool beyond the initial work across North Yorkshire County Council. The intended result is a tool which will allow for the analysis of spend and outcomes for young people on the edge of care.

Click here to view the Edge of Care Cost Calculator: Change Project Report


Team-Based Learning – Assessing parental capacity for change (2017)

This Change Project produced training resources to support the development of skills and knowledge in assessing parental capacity to change. They were trialled and evaluated using two contrasting training delivery methods (Team-Based Learning and traditional training) to determine whether Team-Based Learning had a greater impact upon practice. 

View more information about Team-Based Learning: Assessing parental capacity to change.


Reflective supervision: Resource Pack (2017)

Good reflective supervision facilitates critical thinking and analysis of case information, explores how supervisees’ values and experiences mediate their practice, and helps to build the emotional resilience needed for demanding work with children and families.

In this Change Project, Research in Practice brought practitioners and academics together to build the evidence base for reflective supervision and produce a package of resources providing a summary of research evidence alongside learning from practice, and tools to use in one to one and group supervision sessions. 

View the package of resources to support reflective supervision


Standardised Measures and Guidance (2015)

One of the key focuses of our Change Project on assessing parents’ capacity to change is the use of standardised measures to assist structured professional judgement. Our compilation includes a selection of freely available standardised measures that are used in the training course developed for the Change Project, and includes guidance on how to score and interpret them.

This is a small selection of the many standardised measures available (and is in no way a definitive collection) but, if used in accordance with the guidance, these measures can effectively assist decision-making when working with families.

These resources are open access.


Commissioning early help (2013)

Our 2011-12 Change Project worked with operational commissioners from across our Partner network to develop skills and knowledge around needs analysis, outcomes-focused commissioning and developing an early help strategy. The workbook focuses on targeted early help with children and families where a combination of needs and risks are raising safeguarding concerns and provides evidence-informed support for key stages in the commissioning cycle.


Evidence Matters in Family Justice (2012)

The initial Change Project began in 2004 to develop learning around social workers’ use of research in the family court. A set of tools and guidance was piloted with eleven agencies and published as a handbook in 2008. A second edition, published in 2012, takes account of learning that emerged from their use and significant policy changes in social work and family justice.


Analysis and Critical Thinking in Assessment (2012)

The materials developed from this Change Project explore how to overcome barriers to good assessment practice. They focus on the issue of 'thinking in practice' and, above all, on supporting practitioners to be more analytical in their assessments. The resource pack contains a core publication and briefings that highlight key messages and practice recommendations for practitioners, supervisors and senior managers.


Housing and play (2011)

This Change Project sought to increase housing professionals’ awareness of key issues for children and young people – with a focus on outdoor play space and inter-agency working between housing and children’s services. The resource promotes evidence-informed approaches to the development and management of outdoor play space.


On the path to success: Promoting engagement in learning at Key Stage 3 (2010)

These resources support staff from different settings and backgrounds to explore approaches to preventing disengagement and to promoting re-engagement. This project was completed in partnership with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).


Integrated practice on the frontline (2009)

The handbook and tools generated by this project provide a framework for reviewing and evaluating progress in integrated working. They include tools to support action planning and to enable you to link behaviours, systems and changed ways of working to improved outcomes.


Under the Influence? Alcohol and Offending (2008)

One of the first research messages to emerge during the course of this project was that because they lack confidence in the subject, professionals often fail to intervene successfully with young people who misuse alcohol and offend. The resource is designed to help practitioners understand the issues, equip them with practical tips for working with this group of young people and feel assured that interventions implemented are evidence-informed.


Leading evidence-informed practice (2007)

This core resource identifies characteristics of effective leadership in increasing the influence that evidence has on practice. It contains theory, guidance and practical exercises to help develop effective leadership actions and behaviours.


Firm Foundations: a practical guide to organisational support for the use of research evidence (2006)

This core resource focuses on enabling teams to succeed in using evidence to inform practice in services for vulnerable children and their families. It is designed to help those with responsibility for improving the quality of practice put in place the skills, facilities and culture to support evidence-informed practice.


Teamwise: using research evidence, a practical guide for teams (2005)

As the title suggests, Teamwise provides practical guidance for evidence-informed practice at a team level.


NIFTY evaluation (2005)

This Change Project provided tuition, mentoring and networking support for conducting and commissioning single service evaluations. The project ran several times and resulted in a handbook which introduced frontline social care workers to evaluation. The sustained interest in this project over a number of years led us to understand the sector’s need for focused evaluation support and to the development of reason (Research, evaluation and analysis support network) in partnership with NfER.

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