Helping what works to work better

Welcome to the website of The Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation. The Centre was set up to contribute to the work of building and developing effective services for children and families by applying insights and practical tools from the emerging field of implementation science and practice. We also aim to contribute leadership to the development of the implementation field in the UK. Since we started work in 2012 we have been commissioned to carry out a wide range of projects ranging from complex research studies for central government, local government and large voluntary organisations to small, in-depth implementation support advice and consultancy projects. On this website you will find information about our work, and publications and resources developed by The Colebrooke Centre and leading implementation specialists around the world.


July 2018

Developing theories of change for social programmes: co-producing evidence-supported quality improvement

An article by Deborah Ghate, director of the Colebrooke Centre, on levelling the playing field between locally developed social programmes and their more expensive Evidence-Based Program cousins from overseas, using collaborative, implementation science informed methods. Published in Palgrave Communications. Open Access; free to download and share here.

June 2017

Implementation for Scaling: new review

The Colebrooke Centre has recently completed a tailored review for the NSPCC on Implementation for Scaling. With reference to a number of programmes being scaled up by the NSPCC, this review sets out core themes from international research and key principles emerging from the evidence about effective and sustainable scaling practice.

The review is being prepared for wider publication and should be available later in 2017.

May 2017

The UK Implementation Network applies for charitable registration as the UK Implementation Society, and hosts a Round Table at GIC2017.

The Colebrooke Centre has led on an application for a new UK Society, grown from the UK Implementation Network set up in 2014, to register as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Members will also host a Round Table discussion of other national and regional implementation networks and collaborations at the Global Implementation Conference (GIC) 2017 in Toronto in June. Please join us if you are at GIC2017!

February 2017

The Family Links 10-Week Nurturing Programme: Developing a Theory of Change for an Evidence-Supported Design: New publication

A new paper describing a practical implementation support project by The Colebrooke Centre has been completed for Family Links, a large voluntary organisation that designs and purveys a number of popular parenting support programmes across the UK. The paper describes the process and results of co-produced work to elucidate and validate a theory of change for a ten week group-based parenting support programme. The aim of the work was to improve the connections between the design of the programme and the evidence base about ‘what works’ in parenting support, and the paper describes the process as well as discussing the importance of having a theory of change when programmes want to achieve robust implementation models, mechanisms for ongoing quality improvement, and properly tailored evaluation. Click here for the paper and here to view it on the Family Links website.

August 2016

Implementing social pedagogy in fostering services: New publication

This new report from The Colebrooke Centre and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University on the implementation of an ambitious four year national programme to introduce social pedagogy into seven fostering providers in England and Scotland is published ahead of final outcome and costs results (forthcoming, winter 2016). It focuses on the implementation successes and challenges in individual sites and across the group as a whole. Training for carers and some staff was well received and professional social pedagogues were successfully integrated into the work of several sites. In four sites, definite plans for sustaining and scaling up the approach in locally-appropriate ways were being made by the end of the period.  The study shows however that implementing this kind of fluid and intangible approach is particularly challenging, at all levels. Read more here for the summary of key findings, the main report, and the implementation case studies of participating sites.

December 2015

Adoption Support Fund: Learning from the Prototype - The Colebrooke Centre’s implementation evaluation and analysis of the prototype phase of the UK government’s national Adoption Support Fund, an initiative to extend access to therapeutic support for adoptive families. Based on phased programme of analysis and data collection using an implementation science and practice lens, this study reports how ten local authorities in England implemented the early phases of this important national policy initiative from 2014 to 2015. DFE-RR467: Click here for the full research report and a shorter research brief. Carried out on behalf of the Department for Education.

November 2015

From Programs to Systems: Deploying Implementation Science and Practice for Sustained Real World Effectiveness in Services for Children and Families - article by Deborah Ghate, director of The Colebrooke Centre, on how an implementation lens helps us move from effective programmes to effective systems. Published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology on Taylor & Francis Online. Free to download and share at:

Completed projects in 2015:

Two reviews of adoption and special guardianship services, in Essex and Suffolk county councils:

Development of the theory of change, review of monitoring and evaluation processes, and piloting of an Overarching Impact Measure for the Family Links Nurturing Programme

Contact us for more details

Let Teachers Shine: an implementation readiness evaluation for the SHINE Trust

Click here for more details


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