What we do


Bringing together expertise, knowledge and best practice

Our programmes of work for 2017–2020

The following diagram summarises the ihubs programmes of work for 2017–2020:

The focus of each programme and portfolio is highlighted in the ihub Work Plan (PDF)

National Improvement Programmes

  • Care Delivery - these are programmes which focus on supporting delivery partners to improve key aspects of their care delivery system. They are built around key themes that are a priority for the care delivery system in recognition that, where more than one area is working on an issue and looking for external support, there are considerable gains to be made by working together.
  • System Enablers – these are programmes focused on supporting delivery partners to develop the knowledge, skills, cultures and infrastructures that enable the work of improvement.

Although these are national programmes of work, every programme works from a philosophy of adapting to local context where needed. Further, a current development priority is to ensure capacity is built into the programmes to allow those working on these programmes to provide tailored support on issues relevant to only one or a few areas.

Tailored and Responsive Improvement Support

Our Tailored and Responsive Improvement Support Team (TRIST) responds to requests from health and social care organisations to support them in making improvements against key local strategic priorities. The intensity of support will range from a one-off consultation session through to a longer term package of improvement input. The nature of the support offered will be negotiated in agreement with the service making the request.

Grants and allocations

We provide grants and allocations to enable work to happen locally. The Improvement Fund currently provides small grants (from £5,000 to £75,000) for NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships, third and independent sector, and housing organisations to design and test ideas for improving care and/ or produce resources to support spread. All awards are aligned to the national health and wellbeing outcomes. We also provide a relatively small allocation to NHS Boards that supports them to develop their quality improvement infrastructures. From 2017, the focus of this allocation is to support organisations that deliver health and care services to strengthen their capacity and capability to implement improvements, in order to support the nine Health and Wellbeing Outcomes.

Separate but interconnected approaches

Having these three high level approaches increases our flexibility to design a response that is appropriate to the need presenting. Further, for any given area of work, we may deploy more than one approach. For instance, we may have a planned programme of work focused on improving the quality of care for individuals with dementia. As part of that work we may use the Improvement Fund to commission an organisation to produce guidance or tools that support the work of improvement. Alternatively, we may be asked to support some dementia improvement work in a particular partnership through TRIST and identify an issue that we suspect is a common problem across Scotland. Through our planned programme, we would then check with a range of partners to assess the level of priority and need and adapt the planned programmes remit to work on the identified issue.

Our detailed offerings will adapt over time in response to stakeholder needs and changes to context. We will also review the 16 areas annually to ensure we remain aligned to the key priorities of the health and social care system for improvement support.