Putting Policy into Practice (PPIP) Project: Improving Services for Older LGB People in Tower Hamlets, London and Beyond

Lead Research Organisation: Kingston University
Department Name: Sch of Social Science


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
Description The project built on previous research generated by Dr Ann Cronin and Dr Andrew King and the Scrutiny and Equalities Team at Tower Hamlets Borough Council, which explored the needs and experiences of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people living and working in the Borough. The overall aim of the project was to ensure that the services provided or contracted by local authorities will benefit all of their residents, regardless of an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. To achieve this, an awareness raising conference, two knowledge exchange workshops that utilised an equality audit toolkit developed as part of the project, and a final showcase conference were organised to disseminate the learning and good practice gained throughout the project to relevant stakeholders, both nationally and internationally. Participants in the project included members of Tower Hamlets Borough Council, the local Primary Care Trust, third sector organisations and charities, as well as older LGBT community groups and community members. Various measures were undertaken throughout the project to assess the level of awareness and impact of the events on service providers. These measures demonstrated that although there was some awareness of older LGBT people's needs and experiences, taking part in the project had improved awareness and in some instances changed practice. All of the events were designed to encourage, support and empower local practitioners, service providers and other stakeholders; to help them find ways to improve the delivery of their services with this sometimes isolated and invisible population in mind.
Exploitation Route As this was a knowledge exchange follow-on project there were no original research findings. However, a number of measures were employed to assess the degree of impact, and what the form of this impact had been on those participating.
The project was undertaken against a backdrop of organisational restructuring at Tower Hamlets Borough Council and many of its service providers. Consequently recruitment and retention of participants for the project proved more difficult than expected. The first conference, which was organised and funded by Tower Hamlets Borough Council attracted approx 80 delegates. The event led to the development of the SAFE framework equality audit workbook. The ESRC funded sections of the project were the knowledge exchange workshops and the final showcase conference. The first workshop attracted 60 participants, the second 35. The final showcase conference attracted over 100 delegates.
Analysis of the workshop evaluation questionnaires indicated that 50% of participants felt that the workshops would have a lasting legacy on the policy, practice and ideas of their organisation and 25% on policy and ideas. When asked to rate the SAFE framework as a means of conducting an older LGBT equality audit as a means to instigate change in their organisational or individual practices 50% of participants rated it very good, 33% good and 17% fair. Qualitative comments particularly emphasised the importance of the workshops for creating a network and examining the needs of older LGBT people in detail.
"It has been really enjoyable attending and quite empowering. It has spurred me on to think about pushing LGBT issues and also it has been useful to find allies."
"This project has been a fantastic opportunity to look at a hidden issue"
The final showcase conference was preceded by media publicity (see outputs) and requests from academics, policy makers and third sector organisations for more information about the project and the research on which it was based. Conference delegates were asked to comment on what they felt the impact and legacy of the project would be across a number of areas: policy related (65%), practice related (73%), economic (50%) and ideas related (58%). Qualitative comments regarding what was most useful again identified networking, but also included comments on specific aspects of the project: "different talks from a whole section of services. Real life experiences. Open discussion and networking", "the SAFE toolkit would be really useful", "pulling lots of information together from past and new info also. Presentations all very good. Debate. Networking. Very well organised". Assessing what the legacy of the project should be, delegates suggested: "development of education and training", "another follow up conference looking at what people are doing within their service. Development of guidelines and service directories", "more engagement with BME communities".
As a result of this project a bid has been made for further funding for a seminar series to address gaps in knowledge about older LGBT people. In addition, Cronin and King have plans to submit a bid for original research into the work of LGBT champions.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description 1. Scientific community - so far Cronin and King have presented details about the project at the dissemination day conference, the showcase conference, the European Sociological Association Conference (Sept 2012)(slides available as output) and presentations are due at the following forthcoming conferences: British Sociological Association (Leeds, April 2012), the 3rd Annual Qualitative Research for Policy Making (Lisbon, May 2012), the UCU LGBT tri-annual conference (London, May 2012) and the British Society for Gerontology (Keele, July 2012)(slides will be made available as outputs). A press release was disseminated in late October 2011 which included information about the project and this publicity generated requests for details of the project from professionals at Liverpool John Moores University, London Borough of Lambeth, Skills for Care, The Sector Skills Council for Adult Social Care for England, King's College Hospital NHS Trust, OutHouse East, Essex; GRAI, a Western Australia based LGBT NGO; OLGA UK. As a result of the network generated by the project, a seminar series funding bid was submitted in December 2011, to address knowledge gaps in relation to older LGBT people that were identified in the current project was submitted. Cronin and King have been invited to become part of a network of researchers examining older LGBT care. 2. Economic and Societal - a significant tool to translate research evidence into practice, enabling services used by older LGBT adults to be influenced and improved was developed as a result of this project. This equality evaluation tool, the SAFE Framework, received positive feedback from knowledge exchange workshop participants and from the showcase conference delegates. Tower Hamlets Borough Council has created a working group to maintain the legacy of the project and Cronin and King have been asked to act as advisors. Impacts of the work on the LGBT community have included an article about the project in Pink News (25th October 2011)(see outputs) and Dr King was interviewed about the project on Gaydar FM, a community radio station (1st November 2011). Older LGB people and activists were present at all project events and have asked for access to a full final project report.
Sector Education,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

Description A study from Kingston University in London shows living in residential care homes can be an isolating experience for the LGBT community 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Recent research has revealed that too many care home staff fail to realise that some residents are not always heterosexual. According to sociology lecturer Dr Andrew King this means that many gay men and lesbians end up going back into the 'closet' in later life.

In an interview with Scott Roberts, Dr King talks about how healthcare professionals should have a greater awareness of LGBT issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
Description Putting policy into practice : a knowledge exchange project focusing on the needs of older LGBT people 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience
Results and Impact This presentation outlined the aims of the project, its methodology and some of the things that had been learned thus far.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity
Description Residential care can force gay pensioners back into closet, study says 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This article discussed earlier research by the project team, but also refers to the ESRC funded PPIP Project.

Pink paper
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/6278/25/10/2011/Residential-care-can-force-gay-pensioners-back-i...