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Innovation & Research

What's New

The Innovation & Research Unit was established in 2011 in the Social Services Department. The unit supports the vision of the department to be recognized as a leader in advancing best practices in the municipal delivery of social services. Our mandate comes from our strategic direction to promote a culture within the department as leaders in innovation, supporting new ideas and approaches to program delivery.

Why innovation & research?

Innovation and research offer the Social Services Department methods to enhance service delivery, gain new insights into the impact of the services delivered, and foster an environment of learning, creativity and continuous improvement. These are the essential foundations for strong people, caring communities, and our future.

How does this impact me?

The Social Services Department delivers services to over 25,000 Durham Region residents each month. Innovation and research activities help to ensure those services are constantly and consistently being evaluated and enhanced in order to deliver quality programs that meet your needs.

What do we do?

We support staff across the six divisions of the Social Services Department in implementing, measuring, and evaluating new programs and processes to improve services for residents of the Region. We work with local academic institutions to complete community based research, and to ensure our services are supported by the most current and relevant research available.

How do we do it?

We create and lead workshops for internal staff on a variety of topics to build capacity for innovation and research, co-ordinate and lead research and innovation project teams, write grant proposals to access program funding, facilitate relationships with community partners and academic institutions to enhance client supports, support student learning through practicum and research placements, and much more.

Current areas of focus

Knowledge Mobilization: Moving research from academia in to practice to support new innovations in service delivery, and have practice inform research and policy

Co-production: Exploring ways to strengthen partnerships between providers and recipients of social services to improve individual and community outcomes

Innovation Labs: Spaces for cross-divisional and interdisciplinary exploration, experimentation, and evaluation of new ideas in social service delivery


Contact Us

Innovation and Research Unit, Social Services Department

Dr. Darren Levine

Michelle Garraway
Policy Advisor

Guy Longo
Multimedia Coordinator

Laura Stephan
Research Coordinator

Gloria Duke-Aluko
Policy Advisor