Supporting adult social care innovation (SASCI)

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Department Name: Personal Social Services Research Unit

Abstract

Innovation or doing things differently is often seen as a solution to the problems facing adult social care today and for the foreseeable future. Adult social care might seem to be an area where new approaches will naturally flourish (e.g. competition between providers, different people paying, choice over types of care and provider). Yet, while there are many innovations and good evidence that some benefit people using care services, they do not spread rapidly and are often do not become mainstream. Many get abandoned, despite seeming promising.
There may be several reasons for this but we are not sure what really stops good things being taken up. Compared to other parts of society, we don't know lots about innovation in social care and why things do not spread. Many organisations and people offer to help with innovation but we do not know much about what they do and how they do it, or what works. Overall, there has not been much effort to draw together experiences of innovating or changing things in adult social care to let people know what might help and avoid 'reinventing the wheel'.
This is the reason for our proposed research. We want to support the adult social care sector to start up, implement, spread and scale-up affordable innovations that work well. We will produce: 1) new evidence about the process of innovating (doing things differently), what influences the process (what helps and what hinders), what helps people and systems change, what support is available to help people, and the sector's experiences of and views about that support; 2) a theoretical framework (the 'big idea') for understanding social care innovation that will help to design, plan and learn about innovations; 3) an evidence-based discussion about innovation overall in the care sector and its prospects; 4) descriptions of types of social care innovations, including the people and organisations involved, and types of support for innovation.
If our research is to support social care to do things differently and better, then our findings need to be translated into actions. We will build and foster strong relationships with stakeholders (e.g. users/carers, care providers, local authorities) and work with them to design and choose the focus of the study and develop recommendations. Doing this, we will swap ideas and share learning, which should encourage use of the research. We will also ask people who have helped us with the research to tell us what they learnt, if/how they have used the findings, and what we could do better.
Innovation is a dynamic or changing process, involving many organisations and people. It needs to be understood in its particular context (e.g. support at home or a carers' group). So, we will develop illustrations or case studies of innovations around selected topics (e.g. integrating systems, making the most of human resources (people), promoting choice and control) to explore the process in-depth. We will explore how individuals, organisations and the wider context all influence innovation. We will focus on parts of adult social care where there is potential for a lot of learning (e.g. research evidence and capacity, stakeholder networks and knowledge leaders, organisational characteristics, 'misaligned' or 'perverse' incentives around costs and benefits). To develop more general claims about what influences innovation and what are the necessary conditions for it to flourish, we will study different types of innovations and conduct a national survey to test findings from the case studies.
Informed and supported by strong and diverse user and carer involvement, our study should a) inform decision-making about how to foster the right conditions and policies for innovation to flourish in adult social care; b) inform the design and planning of innovations, work out what innovations are more likely to succeed, and gain learning from innovations; and c) provide evidence-based recommendations for policy, practice and research.

Planned Impact

The study will provide rich insights into the innovation process in adult social care (ASC), its drivers, the sector's capacity to innovate, the infrastructure for supporting innovation and perceptions of it. Our findings will inform multiple groups, including service providers; local and national government; NHS bodies; trade and professional associations; user and carer organisations; ASC practitioners and the public.
Our research will support the ASC sector to innovate successfully by producing the following outputs:
1. A theoretically-informed, evidence-based framework for understanding innovation in ASC of considerable value to everyone involved in developing and implementing ASC innovations, including policymakers and practitioner-researchers. It will inform the design of innovations; their implementation, scaling-up and roll-out; and help identify innovations more likely to succeed.
2. A qualitative and quantitative characterisation of innovation in the ASC sector, the sector's capacity to innovate and how conducive current conditions are to innovation. Together with the theoretical framework, this evidence will be useful for policymakers, organisations and individuals looking to innovate and those who stand to benefit. It will help locate local innovative practice in the national context and help decision-makers foster ASC innovation by identifying capabilities, activities and conditions necessary for innovation to flourish in ASC.
3. A qualitative and quantitative characterisation of the support infrastructure for ASC innovation, with analysis of how the infrastructure relates to the range of innovations, conditions for innovation and capacity for innovation. Recommendations about the direction of travel for building a support infrastructure for innovation will be developed so as to be of value to national and local policymakers, private and third sector organisations and others involved in innovation.
4. A typology of ASC innovations and work towards a typology of the infrastructure for ASC innovation, with accompanying web-based inventories detailing the range of innovations and support infrastructure within the sector. These will be useful resources for organisations and individuals, to help them identify innovations and contacts from whom they can learn more about how to design, implement and sustain such approaches.
5. Detailed insight into particular types of innovation (e.g. integration innovations) and challenges faced by the ASC sector (e.g. research capacity and use of research evidence in practice) emerging from stakeholder and public engagement activities as foci for the study. These findings will be of interest to stakeholders operating or using services in those specific areas.
Given the current limited evidence base, we also expect to generate recommendations for future policy, practice, research and (perhaps) approaches to impact.
Our strategy for impact focuses on developing strong partnerships and fostering relationships with networks of stakeholders throughout the study in order to exchange ideas and facilitate shared learning to increase potential for influence and impact. These relationships are likely to endure beyond the project to inform future research. We have developed partnerships with carer/public representatives and other ASC stakeholders, and will maintain these relationships through regular meetings, contact and communications. During the study we will build further relationships with a wider group of stakeholders, including more service users and carers. Stakeholders will shape the direction of the research, synthesise the findings and identify ways to communicate them to and discuss with different stakeholder groups. As far as possible, evidence will be made available during the course of the study. We will prepare briefings and blogs; and use our website and social media to improve reach, presenting findings using engaging infographics, visual notes and 'talking heads' films.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description ARC National Priorities programme in Adult Social Care and Social Work - advisory group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://arc-kss.nihr.ac.uk/npp-adult-social-care-social-work/outputs
 
Description Advisory group member for the Social Care Innovation Network (2019-)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Contribution to House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Contribution to Putting People at the Heart of Care white paper
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/people-at-the-heart-of-care-adult-social-care-reform-whit...
 
Description Social Care Wales - Supporting Social Care Innovation Advisory Group
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description School for Social Care Research - Masters internship awards
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 106152/CBF/UBDA-I20 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 08/2021
 
Description School for Social Care Research - intramural scheme
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 102645/CM/LSEMK-P200 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 08/2022
 
Description Attendance at a TechBrex organised by Care England 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Attendance at a invitation only workshop organised by Care England. As a result of the workshop, subsequent contact was made with other attendees who were interested in being involved in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Attendance at the new IMPACT centre's national assemblies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of the general assemblies is to feed into the development and shaping of the IMPACT centre , which is a new UK centre for implementing evidence in adult social care, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Health Foundation. The SASCI team was invited to attend to ensure the learning from the SASCI project was feeding into the development of the new centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
 
Description Blog on The Funding and Organisation of UK Social Care 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact In light of the media interest in social care ahead of the much anticipated white paper, this blog considers some of the challenges facing the sector and the potential role for innovation. It trails the SASCI project as a programme of work that will provide evidence to support innovation in the sector. The project tweeted about the blog to raise interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/the-funding-and-organisation-of-uk-social-care
 
Description Power to Change round table on a better model of social care for older people 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Members of the research team attended a roundtable event organised by Power to Change/RAND to explore what a better model of social care for older people would look like. Attendees included people from Power to Change, Hub on the Hill and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). The SASCI project contributed ideas from the work that has been done so far identifying innovations and thinking about where these are located. The discussion helped with the framing of the SASCI project and allowed us to explore what is driving innovation, what is holding it back and some examples of innovative practice. The discussion focused around issues of trust, partnership, the role of regulation, and perceptions of innovation. The event also raised the question of whether anyone in social care had managed to scale up a model, especially a model of asset-based commissioning. The event sparked some ideas about what type of research is needed to support the development of a better model of care for older people and raised the possibility of developing a project that aimed to evaluate approaches to commissioning for an asset-based place that involved a design phase to overcome the challenges identified in previous evaluations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Press release by Care England about the SASCI project 
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 Care England are partners on the study and put out a press release about the project. This was picked up by various media outfits including Care Home Professional, Home Care Insight, Care Home Management. A number of readers of these publications have been in touch with the study to find out more and explore opportunities to get involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.careengland.org.uk/news/supporting-innovation-adult-social-care
 
Description Radio interview for BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The PI was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme to describe the aims of the SASCI project, raise the profile of the project and encourage people to contact the project with examples of innovative work they are doing in the adult social care. The interview following immediately on from our launch event and helped to maintain the momentum generated from the launch event, in terms of tweeting about the project and developing our following on Twitter. The interview has also led to around 10 or so groups contacting us directly to express their interest in being considered as case studies, or participating in the study in other ways.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000d85d
 
Description SASCI Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Around 50-70 people from across the adult social care sector attended a launch event for the study, which was chaired by Sir David Behan. Speakers and panel members included Dez Holmes, Clenton Farquaharson, Chris Gage and Paul Musgrave, Alex Fox, Ceri Armstrong and Les Billingham, Lord Victor Adebowale, Ben Jupp, Martin Green. There was live tweeting from the event on Twitter and following the event there was continued discussion on Twitter, which led to a very large increase in Twitter followers (now at 167). There was good discussion about the challenges of innovating and how some of these issues can be overcome, which sparked a number of people who attended (and others who heard about us through the Twitter discussion) to get in touch with the team about being involved in the study. The launch event also prompted the BBC Radio 4 You and Yours programme to get in contact with us to contribute to the programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.lse.ac.uk/cpec/news/sasci-supporting-innovation-in-adult-social-care
 
Description Webinar "Growing innovation in adult social care: the evidence so far" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The webinar brought both projects together to share their learning in relation to what is working well and not so well in scaling up and implementing innovative approaches to care and support. It explored findings from a literature review on scaling innovation in adult social care carried out by SCIE, early lessons from the social care innnovation network (SCIN) and SASCI projects, what factors hinder and facilitate innovation scaling, what support do local areas need most to help them grow innovation, emerging examples of good practice. I presented some very early findings from the exploratory first phase of the SASCI research project. I was contacted afterwards by two organisations who were interested in participating in the study.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.scie.org.uk/transforming-care/innovation/network/webinars/2020-06-30
 
Description Workshop held with Housing LIN to explore experiences of innovation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact 8 people from provider organisations attended a workshop held in collaboration with Housing LIN to explore their experiences of innovating in adult social care. Attendees were from national provider organisations. There was good discussion around the range of innovations they had tried and their experience of innovating. This led to a discussion about the value of potentially bringing together providers and commissioners for a joint discussion around the issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020