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Home » News » Blog: Threading the Needle - All partners are equal partners

Blog: Threading the Needle - All partners are equal partners

Annie Weir , Senior Engagement & Project Manager , North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership worked with ESS on Threading the Needle in North Ayrshire.  Here she tells us about some surprising lessons she learnt…  

Within North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership – we have done a significant piece of work around the Integrated Care Fund (ICF) – which we are quite proud of and are keen to ensure we build on this good practice in the future.   


Specifically, we were keen to ensure that evidence from our spending on the Integrated Care Fund and evidence of decision making was clearly linked through our Strategic Planning Processes. This was particularly true where the third sector was involved and we were keen to develop further ways where the third sector could help inform and influence decision making.

Initially, we hoped Evaluation Support Scotland would help us evaluate the third sector ICF projects in order to independently evaluate how well third sector ICF projects had met the ICF requirements and our strategic plan priorities.

Martha-Lester Cribb (ESS) came back to us and said that Threading the Needle couldn’t help us to do that but they were keen to help us to build capacity to evaluate and monitor third sector projects. It’s fair to say, I was sceptical…..

We reviewed, in an action learning set, the ICF process with key individuals from our ICF process and a few invited guests. It became clear different sectors had different ideas of what and how often monitoring would take place. Statutory sectors tended to provide more statistical and less frequent information whilst third and independent sectors provided a wider range of measures including softer ones. And later we found that unwittingly we expected third sector to be monitored more often because we hadn’t talked through a shared understanding of monitoring.  It sounds dead obvious when you say it out loud but often our systems run in parallel than in series….

The discussion in the third sector workshops was invaluable in gaining a better understanding of each other.  In addition, Martha held workshops on evaluation to ensure all sectors had a range of monitoring and evaluation techniques.  We learned – all partners are equal partners – different views add to the rich tapestry of monitoring and it’s no easy!

Its early days but we are really pleased with the results so far and we are thinking of new and improved ways to work together with all sectors to make real change for the people of North Ayrshire.

More information about Threading the Needle here

Threading the Needle resources:

Three learning points:

·        We need to talk about data and evidence

·        We need to build the focus on outcomes

·        We need to understand where third sector evidence fits

How to explore decision making and the role of evidence

From the source to the sea

The story of Threading the Needle in:

·        Glasgow

·        Fife

·        North Ayrshire

·        Perth & Kinross

Reviewing the pathway (Anticipatory Care Plan, Glasgow)

North Ayrshire Monitoring and Evaluation Form