Iriss and the Care Inspectorate: Partners in Innovation

In January 2015, Iriss launched a joint project with the Care Inspectorate to explore strategic innovation, resilience and risk in the context of the Care Inspectorate’s mandate of scrutiny and improvement.

Our work so far

To date, this project has comprised of an internal staff survey with 108 responses, two workshops with 18 staff members, and has sought to engage the wider Care Inspectorate workforce through the findings. Following a staff survey which intended to identify attitudes towards risk and innovation, Iriss delivered two workshops using the scenario planning tool ‘Imagining the Future’. Delegates were immersed in four scenarios set in 2025 to prompt the group to explore, challenge and shape the future trajectory of risk and innovation at the Care Inspectorate. Collectively, the group identified key action areas for development as

  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Communication (both within and outwith the organisation)
  • Infrastructure/systems

These sessions encouraged workshop participants to embrace action within their own role and to use their influence to support others do the same. The evaluation of the workshops highlighted that staff felt the sessions offered an opportunity to think differently about the strategic direction of the Care Inspectorate as well as explore their individual roles.

“These sessions have renewed my enthusiasm for my role. I hope that senior management share in this. It could be possible for the organisation to change its culture of working to embrace innovation and risk. We need a shift in focus to support a whole new way of working inspired by this project.”

There was also a sense that the project should not stop there. The project group recognised their role in developing a culture of innovation. They also openly sought wider, systemic leadership on the issues they identified. Iriss wrote an internal report and shared recommendations from the group with the Executive Team, who welcomed the enthusiasm and suggestions that emerged from these workshops and recommended that we continue this work.

Iriss took the opportunity to present the work to 600 Care Inspectorate staff members at their staff conference in September 2015. Iriss asked delegates to identify their own priorities in innovation. Although suggestions were varied, they could be categorised into the following themes:

  • supporting and participating in innovation with providers
  • further engaging with providers and the sector
  • using more research and policy in work.

Staff also identified the importance of:

  • protected time for personal development and learning
  • sharing good practice with colleagues
  • the need for permission and support from senior management.

Next Steps

Following a successful and exciting first phase of work together, the group devised a piece of work which led to a wider corporate consultation on the resources allocated to producing inspection reports against the added value they provide in terms of safeguarding, improvement or public assurance. The Care Inspectorate has now successfully incorporated this workstream into their review of methodology.

Iriss and the Care Inspectorate are now working together to design, facilitate and deliver a phase 2 collaborative project for 2016-17, which we hope will support strategic re-imagining of risk management to support innovation within the sector.

We are now working with a smaller cohort, which includes some members from the original workshops to explore and discover opportunities to apply our learning in practice. This has culminated in various ideas being explored.

The work of the group going forward will focus again on the strategic appetite for risk and innovation and concentrate on progressing this across different service types to support the organisations’ direction of travel.

We hope to continue to provide a space for ideas and innovation, and to come together to work with the Care Inspectorate, providers and people accessing support, to embrace innovation and risk.

To find out more or to get involved with this work please contact or

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