Policy briefings

Our ground-breaking research is shaping debates and informing policy. Access policy briefing papers summarising our research for policymakers and practitioners below.

Putting the environment at the heart of prosperity and social inclusion: The Stirling Protocol

Title: Putting the environment at the heart of prosperity and social inclusion: The Stirling Protocol
Author:  Professor Maggie Cusack et al.
Date: July 2020
Abstract: The transition to a sustainable economy will require policymakers, businesses and other organisations to reconsider how they operate and to adopt alternative, low carbon ways of working. This briefing paper overviews the Stirling Protocol, a simple framework which enables organisations to balance the demands of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion.
Tags: sustainability, net zero, low carbon, environment, prosperity, social inclusion

Putting the environment at the heart of prosperity & social inclusion: The Stirling Protocol (Scotland-specific policy)

Title: Putting the environment at the heart of prosperity and social inclusion: The Stirling Protocol (Scotland-specific policy briefing)
Author: Professor Maggie Cusack et al.
Date: July 2020
Abstract: Scotland’s Programme for Government 2019-20, Protecting Scotland’s Future, sets out an ambitious target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Meeting this objective will require policymakers, businesses and other organisations to reconsider how they operate, and make the transition to alternative, sustainable ways of working. This briefing paper overviews the Stirling Protocol, a simple framework which enables organisations to balance the demands of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion.
Tags: sustainability, net zero, low carbon, environment, prosperity, social inclusion

Using technology to promote social connectedness: Insights from the T&Scon project

Title: Using technology to promote social connectedness: Insights from the T&Scon project
Author: Dr Louise McCabe et al.
Date: May 2020
Abstract: Digital technology can play an important role in connecting individuals and families, and preventing social isolation, particularly in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. The Technology and Social Connectedness (T&Scon) project explored the potential of technology to support social connectedness for adults living in Scotland, producing a toolkit to provide guidance for individuals and organisations on the use of digital technology in building and maintaining social connections. This paper summarises the project’s key findings and recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.
Tags: Social isolation, loneliness, technology, social connectedness, coronavirus, social distancing, digital

Scottish Care Homes and COVID-19

Title: Scottish Care Homes and COVID-19
Author: Professor David Bell et all.
Date: May 2020
Abstract: COVID-19 has caused a significant increase in deaths in Scotland, particularly amongst older individuals. Professor David Bell and colleagues explore key trends about the impact of coronavirus in Scotland's care homes.
Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, care homes, care, social care

Scottish Youth Justice and the Legacy of Kilbrandon: A provocation paper

Title: Scottish Youth Justice and the Legacy of Kilbrandon: A provocation paper
Author: Dr Michelle Donnelly
Date: April 2020
Abstract: This provocation paper explores? the uniquely Scottish approach to youth justice by reflecting on the legacy of the Kilbrandon Report and? highlighting inconsistencies towards the treatment of some children who come into contact with? the Scottish youth justice system. It concludes by arguing that the identified contradictions could be? resolved by raising the age of criminal responsibility to the cusp of adulthood.
Tags: children’s Hearings, justice, youth justice, young people

Scoping the feasibility and acceptability of Managed Alcohol Programmes for people who are homeless with severe alcohol

Title: Scoping the feasibility and acceptability of Managed Alcohol Programmes for people who are homeless with severe alcohol problems in community-based, third sector services in Scotland
Author: Dr Tessa Parkes et al.
Date: Spring 2020
Abstract: In Scotland, rates of alcohol use and alcohol-related harm are high, with more than 1100 deaths attributable to alcohol in 2018. People who are experiencing homelessness are at a particularly high risk of alcohol use and associated harms, including experience of extreme social inequalities. Managed Alcohol Programmes (MAPs) are a harm reduction approach specifically for people experiencing homelessness, providing alcohol in measured, regular doses throughout the day, as well as a range of other supports including health and housing. This briefing paper summarise a study which aimed to scope the feasibility and acceptability of MAPs in Scotland.
Tags: alcoholism, homelessness, addiction, alcohol-related harm

Tobacco point-of-sale displays, brand awareness, and smoking and vaping among young people in Scotland

Title: Tobacco point-of-sale displays, brand awareness, and smoking and vaping among young people in Scotland Insights for policymakers from the DISPLAY project
Author: Sally Haw et al.
Date: January 2020
Abstract: This briefing provides insights into the relationship between tobacco branding, point of sale marketing and e-cigarette uptake among young people in Scotland. The paper will be of use to policymakers in Scotland, and further afield, when considering the next steps necessary to combat the uptake of smoking and vaping among young people.
Tags: smoking, vaping, e-cigarettes, tobacco

Building a movement: Community Development and Community Resilience in Response to Extreme Events

Author: Sandra Engstrom et al.
Date: December 2019
Abstract: There are gaps in understanding what community resilience is and means to those working in communities, academia, practice and policy and how it is currently enacted in Scotland. Greater understanding of existing experiences can be used to encourage development of community resilience. By enhancing resilience, those affected by extreme events are better able to cope; communities are given a voice; and risk and vulnerability on local, national and global scales are reduced.
Tags: resilience, extreme events

The impact of the Daily Mile on Primary School Children

Author:  Dr Colin Moran et al.
Date: February 2019
Abstract: The Daily Mile is a physical activity programme through which primary-aged children run or walk for 15 minutes every day, at a self-selected pace. The initiative has grown in popularity nationally and internationally, initially driven by anecdotally reported benefits of participation. This briefing – drawing on three studies led by University of Stirling researchers ? has the potential to inform the rollout of the Daily Mile, both in Scotland, and further afield.
Tags: Daily Mile, public health, fitness, schools

Scottish people’s priorities and preferences for food safety information

Author: Seda Erdem et al.
Date: October 2019
Abstract: Food Standards Scotland ensures that information and advice on food safety and standards, nutrition and labelling is independent, consistent, evidence-based and consumer-focused. This briefing summarises research undertaken to identify what food safety issues the public prioritise, what types of information individuals feel would influence their food handling behaviour, and where the public claim that they would like to hear more about food safety issues.
Tags: Food safety, consumer preferences, food standards

Policy addressing suicidality in children and young people: An international scoping review

Author: Lynne Gilmour et al.
Date: October 2019
Abstract: As many as 800,000 lives are lost to suicide annually, in what is arguably a preventable cause of death. The World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Action Plan 2013-20 sets a target of reducing suicide rates by 10% by 2020. This briefing paper summarises a global review of national policy documents, considering how they address the treatment and care needs of suicidal children and young people. In doing so, it highlights best practice for how policy can influence the resourcing of services, and identifies gaps in policy provision for this vulnerable population.
Tags: Suicide, self-harm, mental health

Perspectives on kinship care, foster care and adoption in Scotland

AuthorDr Helen Whincup et al
Date: September 2019
Abstract: Though many children in the care system may be ‘legally’ secure, the challenging and often disruptive process of moving into - and within - the care system can leave children feeling insecure and unsettled. Part of the Permanently Progressing? Building secure futures for children in Scotland study, this briefing draws upon the voices of children, carers and adoptive parents in Scotland, offering perspectives on kinship care, foster care and adoption.
Tags: care system, kinship care, foster care, adoption

Pathways to Permanence for children who become looked after in Scotland

AuthorDr Helen Whincup et al.
Date: September 2019
Abstract: Many children who become looked after away from home will return to their parents, but for some the decision is taken to permanently place them with kinship carers, long-term foster carers or adoptive parents. Until now little was known about children’s pathways through the looked after system in Scotland, the balance of voluntary and compulsory intervention, and how patterns of placement change over time. This briefing paper provides insights into the pathways and timescales to permanence for looked after children in Scotland, with implications for policymakers and practitioners.
Tags: care system, kinship care, foster care, adoption

Children looked after away from home aged five and under in Scotland: experiences, pathways and outcomes

AuthorDr Helen Whincup et al.
Date: September 2019
Abstract: This briefing paper summarises key findings on the histories, progress and outcomes for a sample of looked after children in Scotland, three to four years after they became looked after away from home. It draws on survey data from social workers, caregivers, and the Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS), investigating the association between patterns of maltreatment, placement status, and children’s subsequent wellbeing.
Tags: care system, kinship care, foster care, adoption

Linking administrative datasets about looked after children

AuthorDr Helen Whincup et al.
Date: September 2019
Abstract: The Scottish Government’s Looked After Children Data Strategy seeks to provide a robust and reliable body of data to realise the policy ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s  wider strategy for looked after children and young people. The Data Strategy specifically seeks to enhance knowledge of the outcomes for looked after children through linking administrative datasets to provide a broader evidence base and inform more effective interventions. This briefing paper summarises key findings from the Permanently Progressing? Building secure futures for children in Scotland study which tested the feasibility of linking administrative data from the Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS) with data from the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and created a linked dataset.
Tags: care system, kinship care, foster care, adoption, data linkage

Decision Making for Looked After Children in Scotland

AuthorDr Helen Whincup et al.
Date: September 2019
Abstract: This briefing paper provides insights into the processes and pressures that influence decision making for looked after children in Scotland, drawing on findings from Phase One of the Permanently Progressing? Building secure futures for children in Scotland. The paper comes as the care system in Scotland is under review, through the Independent Care Review which examines the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos of Scotland’s care system.
Tags: care system, kinship care, foster care, adoption, data linkage, decision making

Transforming Broomhill: Community Regeneration Evaluation

Author: Professor Isobel Anderson, Ms Trudi Tokarczyk, Ms Catherine O'Shea
Date: February 2019
Abstract: River Clyde Homes commissioned the University of Stirling to work with regeneration partners to review progress of the Broomhill Regeneration Project. This report presents the findings of an initial assessment of the ambitious project for community regeneration in the Broomhill estate, in Greenock, Inverclyde. 
Tags: Regeneration, Housing, Community Development

The potential for lynx reintroduction to Scotland

Author: Mr Tom Ovenden
Date: May 2019
Abstract: This briefing summarises an innovative modelling approach that provides scientific evidence to inform the complex decisions surrounding the potential reintroduction of Eurasian lynx to Scotland and the conservation management of other species.
Tags: Conservation management, species reintroduction, lynx

Housing through Social Enterprise

Author: Dr Steve Rolfe et al.
Date: May 2019
Abstract: This paper summarises research which demonstrated that tenants’ health and wellbeing is shaped by whether they are able to feel at home in their tenancy, and that this is underpinned by four key foundations.
Tags: Housing, wellbeing, health

Smokers’ response to standardised tobacco packaging

Author: Dr Crawford Moodie
Date: March 2019
Abstract: This briefing summarises research which concludes that users of standardised tobacco packaging are more likely to notice health warnings and consider the risks of smoking.
Tags: Smoking, tobacco, public health

Older people, Social Isolation and Loneliness in Scotland: Insights from the Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS) study

Author: Dr Elaine Douglas
Date: March 2019
Abstract: Acknowledging the increasing recognition of social isolation and loneliness as major public health issues, the Scottish Government’s policy document A Connected Scotland (2018) sets out a strategic approach to tackling loneliness through building stronger social connections. This briefing paper summarises insights from the HAGIS study into social isolation and loneliness among older people in Scotland.
Tags: Older people, social isolation, loneliness

Scottish Ambulance Service New Clinical Response Model

Author: Professor Jayne Donaldson
Date: February 2019
Abstract: The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) implemented the New Clinical Response Model (NCRM) for Emergency 999 Calls in November 2016. The briefing paper summarises a University of Stirling led evaluation, suggesting that the  new model accurately identifies patients in greatest need through emergency 999 calls.
Tags: Health

Specialist palliative care in care homes

Author: Dr Liz Forbat
Date: December 2018
Abstract: Palliative Care Needs Rounds are triage meetings that have been introduced in residential care for older adults to help identify and prioritise care for those most at risk of unplanned dying, with inadequately controlled symptoms. The briefing paper sets out implications of a recent studies for the Australian government’s National Palliative Care Strategy.
Tags: Social Care; Health

Specialist palliative care in care homes (pilot study)

Author: Dr Liz Forbat
Date: October 2018
Abstract: Palliative Care Needs Rounds are triage meetings that have been introduced in residential care for older adults to help identify and prioritise care for those most at risk of unplanned dying, with inadequately controlled symptoms. The briefing paper sets out implications of a pilot study for the Scottish Government’s  Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care.
Tags: Social Care; Health

Your tenants are gay, get over it!

Author: Dr Peter Matthews
Date: December 2017
Abstract: This policy briefing paper focuses on the experiences of customers with a non-normative sexual or gender identity.
Tags: Housing, equalities, LGBT+

Homelessness support for LGBT+ people

Author: Dr Peter Matthews
Date: December 2017
Abstract:  Homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people is becoming an increasing concern among LGBT+ organisations and homelessness organisations. This briefing explores the issue of homelessness among LGBT+ people.
Tags: Housing, equalities, LGBT+, homelessness

Approaches to specifying curriculum areas of learning

Author: Professor Mark Priestley
Date: May 2017
Abstract: In a working paper prepared for the Welsh Government, Professor Mark Priestley considers the development of a new curriculum for Wales, presenting and critiquing different approaches to how a national curriculum can be framed.
Tags: Education, curriculum

A perspective on learning outcomes in curriculum and assessment

Author: Professor Mark Priestley
Date: May 2016
Abstract: In a briefing paper published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Professor Mark Priestley considers the role of learning outcomes in curriculum and assessment, including their potential to facilitate better learning and teaching.
Tags: Education, curriculum, learning, learning outcomes

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