Think child, think parent, think family: a guide to parental mental health and child welfare

Putting it into practice - lessons about process

When setting up the implementation project, SCIE envisaged a relatively linear process, in which sites would develop plans (including outcome measures), implement those plans, and then review progress and outcomes. Although we hoped the plans would ideally be living documents, which would change over time, it was nevertheless anticipated that the planning process would be the main driver of activity.

The sites in Northern Ireland to some extent followed this model and worked to a detailed regional plan. They were able to develop several strategic documents which have regional coverage. However, in the English sites and, to a lesser extent the Northern Irish sites too, the process of implementation was more ‘organic’ than expected. This showed itself in a number of ways:

There were significant differences in the way that the guide was implemented in the English compared to the Northern Irish sites. This was largely due to the regional mandate for this work in Northern Ireland, supported by two full-time project managers. This meant that, for example, in Northern Ireland more time could be spent producing strategic, regional-level documents – such as a knowledge and skills framework and regional multi-disciplinary working agreement – than was possible in most of the English sites.

The Northern Ireland project also had the capacity and mandate to engage in other strategic-level activities, such as liaising with the regulators and providers of professional education, and meeting on an ongoing basis with government departments and non-departmental public bodies to share information and coordinate activities. SCIE undertook this role to some extent on behalf of the English sites, meeting regularly with the Department of Health and Department for Education.