Evidence and Learning

The work on personal outcomes in Scotland builds on long term research programmes, starting with the Social Policy Research Unit (SRU) followed by the University of Glasgow (see foot of page). The main academic link now is the University of Strathclyde. A continuing priority is to identify challenges emerging from practice and policy and to work with partner organisations to develop evidence informed solutions. Our evidence and learning is captured in diverse formats including peer reviewed journal articles, formal policy reports and evidence based supports to practice, with samples below.


Our most recent evidence based report is our 2021 covid story project. This report is based on evidence including stories collected at three points during the pandemic; based on initially 39 stories of keeping the focus on outcomes by practitioners in diverse sectors and roles.

You can also learn more about PON learning from our evaluation of our network. 

Recording outcomes in the care home context

In 2020 we published a journal article in Ageing and Society. It explores the perspective of care home staff trying to record person centred outcomes and is titled Ethical dilemmas: balancing choice and risk with a duty of care in extending personalisation into the care home (Miller and Barrie)

Outcome based approaches to public service reform

This 2017 paper by Ailsa Cook for What Works Scotland explores the strategic place of outcomes in public service reform in Scotland

Meaningful and Measurable project

The evidence generated through the ESRC funded Meaningful and Measurable project includes Final Project Reports for project partners plus project briefing reports (2015).

Personal outcomes & quality measures project: NHS

The We’ve Got to Talk About Outcomes series of guides were produced in 2013 following a one year government funded project exploring the possibilities for introducing a focus on personal outcomes in the NHS. The guides synthesise evidence generated in different healthcare settings in the community.

Personal outcomes in reablement and home support

This project was funded by the ESRC and North Lanarkshire Council, involving the University of Strathclyde & Iriss. It focused on personal outcomes in reablement. A summary version is available.

Talking Points practical organisational guide and summary 

The Talking Points Personal Outcomes Approach: a practical guide brings together learning from development and implementation to 2012. A summary is also available.

We’ve got to talk about outcomes: a review 

The Talking Points approach was reviewed by Alison Petch, Director of Iriss, who conducted a survey and interviewed a range of stakeholders involved in development and implementation of the approach. Read the report of the review.

Outcomes-focused Assessment and Policy Priorities

In 2010 a journal article: Outcomes Focused Assessment and Policy Priorities published in Research, Policy and Planning includes a review of outcomes based working in England, Wales and Scotland.

Evidence about outcomes in children’s services

The Talking Hope Report, published in 2019 by CYCJ at Strathclyde University, reports on findings from a project based in one of Scotland’s secure care centres for young people. It involved diverse agencies including CAMHS and social work services, as well as secure care staff and most importantly the young people resident in and with experience of secure care in collaborative conversations about hope, outcomes and transitions.

An earlier Scottish Government report exploring an outcomes focused model for disabled children combining the overarching childrens outcomes policy GIRFEC and associated SHANARRI Indicators with Talking Point principles

Evidence about outcomes and unpaid carers  

Our journal article in the British Journal of Social Work explores the benefits of narrative recording of outcomes as relational practice in a Scottish carer support organisation (of (Miller and Barrie 2019)

We reviewed evidence on the impact of outcomes focused assessment for carers. This was commissioned by the Scottish Government to inform the Carers (Scotland) Act. This 2017 review identified several long-term programmes on outcomes focused planning, some specific to carers, based in England, Wales, Canada, Sweden and Scotland.

Research undertaken in Midlothian in 2013 on outcomes focused carers assessment also highlighted the value of the conversation, together with the need for a strong action orientation, and makes key recommendations for practice.

VOCAL (Voice of Carers Across Lothian) was one of 8 partner organisations to take part in the Meaningful and Measurable project.  Their 2013 final report shares learning about its evolving approach to engaging, recording and using outcomes information.

Understanding and evidencing how carer organisations contribute to personal outcomes

Carers organisations play a vital role supporting unpaid carers, but can find it challenging to evidence their impact because so much of the work that they do is preventative. In support of the Reshaping Care for Older People agenda, the Stitch in Time programme worked with eleven carers organisations in 2015 to capture and further develop their evaluation approach. The project was taken forward by Evaluation Support Scotland and the Coalition of Carers in Scotland.

Follow on evidence from Glasgow University

Following the work by SPRU below, two year research project was funded by the Dept Of Health to look at outcomes of health and social care partnership working. The research is captured in a journal article in Health and Social Care in the Community. This led to a long term knowledge exchange programme in Scotland, currently continued by our network.

Early evidence and learning from SPRU

SPRU started research on outcomes from social care specifically from 1995. One example of the many outputs produced over ten years by SPRU summarises their research on introducing outcomes into care management