Dialogue Update

The National Dialogue Community of Practice (DCoP) met and had a productive session on the 15 November at the COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh. Sharon Millar, Principal Lead Organisational and Leadership Development at NHS Education for Scotland, opened the session, reviewing the DCoP journey so far and the recent evaluation carried out by Marie Laidig from Insight Expedition. See Sharon’s insights on the session below.

Our Steering Group Needs You!

At the session, we decided to form a steering group of between 8-10 members of the DCoP to keep the drive for dialogue to support people through system wide transformation of public services.

The commitment of Steering Group members would be:

  • Contribute to quarterly meetings: face-to-face, telephone or Skype (locations will suit the membership)
  • Plan and shape events on behalf of the dialogue community
  • Guide the overall direction of the different strands of DCoP activity and their contribution towards national outcomes
  • Network and connect the DCoP with other relational based networks, groups and practitioners

dcop7Ideally we would like the Steering Group to represent the needs of people with different levels of experience of dialogic leadership, with views from different parts of Scotland and from different sectors (e.g. voluntary, public, independent).

We want to keep the momentum up so please volunteer by Monday 5th December by emailing Sharon.millar@nes.scot.nhs.uk. The first meeting of the DCoP Steering Group will be held in Edinburgh on either afternoon of 13th or morning of 16th December (please check your availability on theses dates and confirm availability when emailing Sharon to volunteer).

Reflections on November Dialogue Event

This was the first time the DCoP has met since January and there was a lot to catch up on as there has been a tremendous amount of activity going on since we last met, including an evaluation of the impact of the DCoP components. The focus of the session was to look at the findings and evidence in the literature and to co-design the next steps towards embedding dialogue as a support to system wide transformation of public services.

To kick things off, Sharon reminded everyone of the journey we have been on over the last 3 years.


The DoCP Journey So Far…


Co-designing Future DoCP Sessions  

We then split into small groups for a dialogue about what the evaluation was telling us about embedding dialogue as a support to system wide transformation of public services. Our conclusions were then mapped onto the dialogue road map of development.

Building on this we turned our attention to addressing How should the DCoP meet? …….in a format that is self-sustaining and enables and enhances dialogue practice.  

Various options were suggested and each considered with the help of a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).  This activity helped clarify what is important and enabled us to build consensus for the approach the DCoP should take for the next year ahead.

Summary of Approach for 2017/2018:

DCoP gatheringsTwo national DCoP events per year.  Focus on a theme of national priority and interest generated by the DCoP by canvasing views using social media.

People take responsibility for organising local dialogues on ‘wicked’ issues or to build on/inform the national dialogue. We use DCoP members and Workforce Scotland communication to raise awareness and extend invitation to others.

Practice Groups – Practice groups were seen as core and not an extra.  We will identify people who would be happy to ‘host/facilitate’ practice groups and make their contact details and dialogue model know to others.  People organise their own practice groups: regionally, with mixed abilities and topic based practice.  Guidance and support is provided from the DCoP.

Education & Training – Look to see how to develop digital resources to develop knowledge and understanding; continue to offer ½ day – 2-day training on core concepts.

Evidence of Impact – Continue to use the ‘Cultivating Practice’ model and actively gather examples to show the difference using dialogue approaches makes.

What should be the focus of our national dialogues during 2017/18?
Tell us what issue of national priority you would be keen to have as the focus of our national dialogue gatherings. Click here and have your say.



Actions to Progress the Plan

Actions we need to take in order to establish the new approach include

  1. Form a Steering group to keep the momentum and bring the new approach alive.
  2. Some practical things which need to be done:
  • Establish principles and guidance for Practice Groups
  • Shape the design for the two national gatherings of the DCoP after identifying themes from the community
  • Networking – Look into other groups of relational practitioners to explore potential for synergy, scale and networking for mutual benefit in addressing national outcomes
  • Establish principles and guidance for peer supervision/dialogic coaching (e.g. know your dialogue model, how you practice and what indicators would illustrate the difference dialogue is making)
  • Dialogue and technology – Review resources relating to dialogue and make recommendations for resources to develop knowledge and understanding of core dialogue concepts
  • Map dialogue core concepts and practise to national leadership and management developments to illustrate where dialogue could improve outcomes
  • Develop evidence of impact – complete literature review, strengthen ties with academic bodies and develop guidance for the DCoP on how to show the difference dialogue makes to outcomes.

Save the Date – Thursday 19th January, Glasgow

Theme: How are conversational and relational practices improving outcomes and supporting people through transformational change?
fire picWith the Dialogue Community of Practice being part of Workforce Scotland, we are participating in the Firestarter Festival, which is an event to look at how we need to change and adapt our organisations and practices to deliver the 21st Century Public Services that we all need.

We are extending an invitation to people who do relational practices (coaching, dialogue, action inquiry, appreciative inquiry, value based reflective practice, action learning….) to join us to share and learn about our work across Scotland using these approaches.  So please hold the date and invite/bring with you someone who you know who works in this way locally.

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