WWS CAR Learning Report

published by Sophie Humphries

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As we reflected on the process of conducting Collaborative Action Research (CAR) during the second WWS national retreat in February 2016, we considered what we've learnt through using CAR in Aberdeenshire, what the benefits to our organisations were and what we wanted to achieve next using CAR as a catalyst for change.
A tool to help us deliver Christie's recommendations
Learning from colleagues across Aberdeenshire and Scotland enriches the process and helps to identify linkages, gaps and new techniques. Access to a wider range of evidence and expertise, skills and knowledge within our own organisations and across Aberdeenshire strengthened both our CAR work and our day jobs. Early and sustained support from leaders is critical in adding weight to research findings and securing buy-in.
Building and sustaining a strong, stable core group is critical to the success of Collaborative Action Research Partnership Innovation Team (PIT). Partners need to be fully committed to the process.
What makes a successful PIT?
What have we learnt by using CAR?
"I have built up a valuable network. I know now who to contact for help and support..."
Taking time out to reflect, consider the issues and evidence fully and instead of rushing to the end point is invaluable. The value of taking time to build relationships cannot be underestimated. Developing relationships which contribute to cross working is a worthwhile and meaningful investment and helps build an understanding of the complexity within our partnerships.
"I want all our partnership meetings to feel this way. It's what we should be doing..."
"I feel like an equal partner. We better understand our role in Health and Social Care Integration..."
"Having the space to reflect meant we considered things differently, improving the quality of our work..."
Communication with partners within and outwith the group is key.
PITs should utilise the skills, expertise and knowledge of all partners within the group. It is important to recognise that all partners have a valid contribution to make and an equal part in the process.
Third Sector
Aberdeenshire Council
Health and Social Care Partnership
"We have a better understanding of the struggles the third sector faces..."
"I have built up valuable relationships with colleagues I wouldn't have otherwise..."
Key factors for success
Wider connections
What are the key benefits for our respective organisations?
Strengthening our networks
We deliver better outcomes for our communities.
Partnership working is improved. Silos within organisations and partnerships are broken down by working towards a common goal as equals.
We understand the different values partners bring to the table and how we can work together better.
Giving staff the time, space and permission to reflect, contribute and develop makes them feel valued.
Learning is embedded, delivered and lived by partners and employees, instead of being contained within yet another report.
We want to identify and support activists and leaders who can spread and sustain this approach to partnership working.
How are we going to build on this?
Embed the learning, consider gaps
Autumn 2016
Share our learning across the Partnership
Summer 2016
Develop an interim learning report
April 2016
We will produce a research product on 'Community Links Workers' which is accessible, useful and credible.  Partners will be able to use this to support future work.
We will contribute to wider learning around Public Sector Reform in Scotland, using our experience of CAR and research findings.
Keep repeating the cycles of CAR to further improve.
The cycles of Collaborative Action Research
PHASE 1 - Preparing the ground Where are we now? What are our key concerns? What would success look like?
PHASE 2 - Exploring the evidence How do we exploit internal and external knowledge? What further evidence do we need? What new insights do we have?
PHASE 3 - Testing Change What changes do we need to make? How do we lever and embed change? How do we know we have made a difference?
For more information visit Produced February 2016, Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership