You and your team are the experts in your area of work – we bring specialist processes we know can be applied to any work towards complex, people-based change.

Co-Founder Directors of Matter of Focus Ailsa Cook and Sarah Morton

Led by co-founders Dr Ailsa Cook and Dr Sarah Morton, Matter of Focus has a seven-year track record of supporting public service organisations to understand, evaluate and report on complex, people-based change.

Our evaluation and impact experts have extensive experience of working with and within public service organisations delivering complex, people-based change. They bring a range of specialist expertise to the support we offer and a thorough understanding the challenges you face.  

Our work focuses on supporting you to embed ongoing, self evaluation and monitoring into your initiative so that you can use your own data and evidence to learn, improve and make the biggest impact. We do this through our expert consultancy support and software, OutNav.

A robust approach, informed by evidence and developed in practice.

With long careers working with and in public service organisations helping them to use data and information more effectively to learn and improve, as well as researching the factors that got in the way, Sarah and Ailsa developed an approach they passionately believed could overcome many of the barriers they’d learned about.

Sarah and Ailsa co-founded Matter of Focus in 2017. Since then, we have tried, tested and refined the approach, combining consultancy and software to take you through a processes to understand, define, track and report on the difference you make.

How Do You Know If You Are Making a Difference? a Practical Handbook for Public Service Organisations.

Published by Policy Press in 2023, Sarah and Ailsa’s book pulls together the Matter of Focus approach; drawing on everything we’ve learned from working with 100s of organisations and sharing some stories of our pioneering clients. You can find more about the book by exploring our approach in the Knowledge hub.

Our expert facilitation brings people together to build a shared understanding and focus.

We are experts in facilitating workshops – both online and in person – that help you work out the knotty issues and build a shared understanding about how your work makes a difference.

People tell us our workshops are engaging, inclusive and supportive, and help teams build confidence in their work.

I can’t think of any other piece of work I’ve been in that has this combination of the really great model with the really great software and the support model.
Stephen Finlayson
Head of Innovation and Improvement, Penumbra
I’m still feeling ever so slightly blown away by how far we’ve come in literally days.
Lisa Trigg
Assistant Director of Research, Data and Innovation at Social Care Wales
Since the workshop we’ve integrated your approach into our own impact planning workshops and the response has been incredible – our academics are able to produce clear, targeted, and (most importantly) helpful impact and evidence planners that they can use to help them develop grant proposals, engagement research, knowledge exchange activities, and evidencing activities.
Sian Moody
Impact Evidence and Evaluation Manager, University of Exeter

Our award-winning contribution to public sector innovation.

We built our software OutNav to hold our approach because we wanted organisations to have a single, practical and accessible system to hold everything together in one place. With OutNav, you can embed ongoing, outcome and impact-focused self assessment into your day-to-day work. 

Our in-house product team works side-by-side with our impact and evaluation consultants, engaging regularly with clients to ensure that OutNav works for you.

In 2023, we were awarded the ScotlandIs Digital Technology Award for Public Sector Innovation.

It has been a privilege to work with you – the partnership has led to so much insight and learning – which has underpinned our growth and confidence in our approach.
Flora Henderson
Alliance Manager for Future Pathways