One key mechanism to involve the world of policy and practice in the activities of the ILG is by the employment of seminars and workshops during and after research has been completed. When designed in an appropriate format such activities can generate a 'virtuous cycle' which helps to define and shape research, promotes two way engagement between research and practice in areas of common interest, whilst at the same time helping to facilitate active dissemination of research findings. Such activity can include involvement of practitioners in the scoping and design of programmes, commissioning research, preparation of practitioner briefing notes and summaries, evaluation and feedback on the impact of the work concerned.
In relation to brokered research projects, the ILG has been working with the relevant commissioning bodies and university suppliers to ensure engagement of practitioners in the research process (sometimes referred to as co-production) and in the subsequent dissemination of research findings into practice and via academic publications.
Examples of these outputs are detailed below:
Research to Reality
This was a programme of nine workshops designed to make accessible to practitioners University research findings on public health issues and related public policy matters. The programme was completed in January 2011. It was organised by the NEIEP, Strategic Health Authority, FUSE (Centre for Translational Research into Public Health) and the ILG. The ILG organised two workshops, one on NEETS (young people not in education, employment or training) with Teesside University, and a second on the public's engagement in the design and delivery of public services, delivered by the ILG, SQW and the 2020 Trust. The ILG also played a lead role in the final event which addressed the challenge of the academic-practitioner interface with a lead paper delivered by the Director of the ILG. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme has recently been undertaken by academics from Durham and Northumbria Universities.
Total Place/Community Based Budgets
Over the past year the ILG was involved with the NEIEP in a programme of work designed to review the findings of national research and evaluation of Total Place pilots and place based budgeting, and given consideration to the lessons going forward for practitioners in the North East. In the summer, a scoping study involving over 40 practitioners and academics took place at Durham University and this helped shape a programme of workshops on the issue supported by commissioned university research and reviews of government and consultancy studies. Working with Newcastle and Teesside Universities, and Shared Intelligence, the workshop themes have covered: the nature of the Total Place concept and its application under the present government; delivering the approach under conditions of financial stringency and uncertainty; the application of relevant research, methodology and techniques (Newcastle University); and, the potential role of the voluntary and charitable sectors to engage in the delivery of Total Place type projects (Teesside University). A summary of the programme findings is being prepared for distribution to participants and the policy community more widely.
Apprenticeships - Pathfinder Research Study
Following completion of the above research study, the ILG has organised a programme of dissemination with Redcar and Cleveland Council and Teesside University Business School, including plans for academic publications, a conference and a successful practitioner event which was held at Redcar and Cleveland College in April.
Regionalism, localism and connected communities - the challenges for the North East
This was a Launch Event for two major studies undertaken by Durham and Northumbria Universities and the Institute for Local Governance involving Professors Keith Shaw, Fred Robinson, John Mawson, Martin Laffin and Dr. Christianne Ormston. Based on a year’s extensive research and engagement with policy makers and practitioners - locally and nationally - these two reports examine the range of implications arising from the Coalition Government’s retreat from regionalism and promotion of localism. The research reports upon how people and institutions in the region are responding to the changes and examines the new strategic and delivery challenges facing organisations in the public, private, and voluntary and community sectors.
Following the presentations, a panel of leading practitioners, Sarah Green, Regional Director, CBI North East, Sally Young, Chief Executive, Newcastle NCVO and Steve Stewart, Chief Executive, Northumberland County Council responded to the key findings. The aim was to have an interactive event, which both provided a forum for a wide-ranging discussion and for considering new opportunities to work collaboratively across the region and, where appropriate, to maintain an effective voice for the North East