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Home » Supporting you » Thematic Programmes » Threading the Needle

Threading the Needle

Using third sector evidence to commission outcomes for health and social care

Threading the Needle was a Scottish Government funded programme to support health and social care commissioners in Glasgow, Fife, North Ayrshire and Perth and Kinross to use third sector evidence to commission outcomes for health and social care.  

The programme contributed to helping partnership members meet their responsibility to actively involve the third sector in the planning and design of integrated health and social care services. 

'Gathering the threads', our final event, took place on Tuesday 31 January 2017  and we launched our resources - see below.

Threading the Needle Resources

Learning Point - Using third sector evidence to commission outcomes for health and social care:

We need to talk about data and evidence

We need to understand where the third sector evidence fits

We need to build the focus on outcomes




How to explore decision making and the role of evidence


From the source to the sea - Understanding how befriending can help Fife Health & Social Care Partnership address its priorities.  


The story of Threading the Needle in:



North Ayrshire 

Perth & Kinross

Monitoring and evaluation form used by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership for the Integrated Care Fund.

Reviewing the pathway (Glasgow)



Layers of support




Learning from A Stitch in Time? materials: A commissioning guide. The third sector contribution to health and social care 

Programme aims

1.   Improve understanding about how the new Integration Authorities and lead agencies really make decisions, so barriers to achieving outcomes can be addressed. 

2.   Support those involved in the strategic planning groups to embed learning from and about third sector evidence in decision-making.

3.   Produce sharper third sector ‘what works’ evidence about some selected interventions to ensure better decision-making.

4.   Generate generic lessons about third sector interventions and outcomes that can be applied to the planning and procurement of services for all client groups.

What we are doing?

Taking a flexible approach has enabled each participating Health and Social Care Partnership: Glasgow, Fife, North Ayrshire and Perth and Kinross to concentrate on different aspects of using third sector evidence.

Glasgow – is focussing on anticipatory plans. Working with the Anticipatory Care Team, Glasgow Council for Voluntary Sector (GCVS) and Voluntary Action Fund (Transformation Fund), ESS is helping to find out what the third sector can do to help people plan for their future health and social care needs. Read more …

Fife – wants to explore how different models of befriending may be able to help the Partnership achieve its strategic priorities. ESS is supporting third sector projects and council staff to build their evaluation skills and develop a logic model which will help them gather useful evidence. Read more …

North Ayrshire – is concentrating on how best to gather and use third sector evidence to inform strategic commissioning decisions; the learning will inform a revision of existing reporting (and application) processes to be jointly carried out by commissioners and third sector organisations. Read more …

Perth and Kinross – is using third sector evidence to map services with other data to create an informed picture of population need and to identify gaps in service provision.  Read more …

By the end of the programme we will produce

             - The steps to improving the use of third sector evidence.
             - The barriers in the system to the use of (third sector) evidence 
               and how to address them.
            -  Approaches to building skills to use evidence.
            -  How partners can work together to share and use evidence. 
            -  The challenges of culture change for health and social care integration.