IMPACT: Improving Adult Care Together

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Social Work and Social Care


We believe that good adult social care (ASC) helps people with care needs and their families to lead ordinary lives of their choosing. We have called our centre 'IMPACT' - which stands for 'IMProving Adult Care Together' - because we believe that lots of different people, from all kinds of backgrounds, have to come together to share ideas, experiences and learning if this aim is to be achieved.

IMPACT will support practical improvements in ASC and help to improve the lives of people using ASC by:
- Helping people involved in ASC make better use of evidence when trying to improve the work they do
- Supporting the ASC workforce to feel more comfortable and confident when using evidence to change practice and behaviours
- Bringing people together to work on improving outcomes for people using ASC, families and communities
- Improving everyone's understanding of how best to use evidence in practice, so future efforts to improve ASC make more difference

We have created a broad, inclusive team for this, including:
- Experts by experience (people with lived experience of ASC and carers)
- Practitioners working in ASC settings
- Service providers (small/medium/large organisations in the public/private/voluntary sectors)
- People who lead and plan services
- National voluntary organisations that support people using ASC and carers
- Organisations with roles in overseeing, supporting and regulating different aspects of ASC
- Leading academics with experience of ASC research

To succeed, IMPACT will need to work in the realities of front-line service delivery and people's lives. These vary across the UK, partly because of different systems and legislative frameworks in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and partly due to local and regional differences. We will share learning across the UK, delivering a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. To balance the varied aspects of IMPACT's work, our leadership team and broader consortium is diverse and drawn from all areas of ASC. We will work with partners and in local areas to support practical change, and named individuals from our leadership team will be responsible for engaging partners in each of the four nations.

In designing IMPACT, we consulted two centres internationally renowned for their work in implementing evidence in practice: NKA (the Swedish Family Care Competence Centre) and Vilans (the Dutch Institute for Long-Term Care). To ensure IMPACT is guided by best practice, their leaders will provide ongoing advice to help ensure the new centre is thoughtful, successful and innovative.

In our first six months, we will test our ideas for IMPACT with everyone involved in receiving and delivering ASC. Our proposal sets out initial ways of working, possible priorities and how we will engage across ASC (listening to seldom heard voices and people who rarely get the chance to take part in such projects).

Our proposed delivery models are listed below, and described more fully in our proposal; we will build on these in consultation with partners and stakeholders:
- Change & Improvement Demonstrators: long-term projects to work on big issues, with 'coaches' helping to facilitate local changes and support local evaluation
- Collaborative Learning Networks: bringing together small local groups to work on shorter-term problem-solving and practical solutions, linking them UK-wide to learn from each other
- Implementation & Sustainability Brokerage Service: specialist knowledge/skills supporting local organisations to work together on a key local change
- Online Platform & Repository: digital/online service accepting ASC queries and responding with regular blogs, short reports and accessible briefings

We will learn from our projects and initiatives using all these approaches and share this across the UK, bringing people together in 'IMPACT Assemblies'/other settings and using web resources, podcasts, professional guidance and other media.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit?

IMPACT aims to contribute to a situation in which people with care needs can lead an ordinary life of their choosing. We will work with stakeholders across ASC to achieve positive impact for beneficiaries:
- People who use/need ASC and carers
- ASC practitioners
- Service providers
- People who plan and lead ASC
- Professional, industry and regulatory bodies
- National voluntary and representative/membership organisations
- Local user-led organisations and 'seldom heard' groups

How will they benefit?

People who use/need ASC and carers will benefit from the improvements in ASC that IMPACT facilitates. They will benefit by experiencing new/altered forms of support (more suitable, appropriate, flexible) to meet their needs and aspirations for a meaningful life. Numbers of beneficiaries will be large, as we intend to scale the promising improvements our delivery models encourage 'up and out'.

ASC practitioners, service providers and planners/leaders will also benefit. Service operation will become smoother, alleviating some of the strain/stress they experience. Their work should be more satisfying, and they should be freer to improve/enhance the service to which they contribute or which they provide, plan or lead. They will feel better supported and better equipped to fulfil their respective roles.

IMPACT will provide professional, industry and regulatory bodies and national voluntary or representative/membership organisations with learning about how best to improve ASC, as well as new and distinctive channels through which they can communicate their perspectives and gain understanding of the views/experiences of people receiving and delivering ASC.

Local user-led organisations and 'seldom heard' groups will benefit as IMPACT will be specifically targeting them as participants in its consultative processes and through our delivery models which involve the establishment of numerous time-limited local projects, networks and initiatives.

Enabling potential beneficiaries to engage: each 'IMPACT Assembly' (5, all 4 UK nations) will involve people with experience of using ASC services, carers, care staff, providers, commissioners and researchers. We will also engage with SCIE's existing networks; use a Lived Experience Engagement Lead to build relationships with user-led organisations / seldom heard groups; and run an online survey to collect views on our priorities, delivery models and ways of working (with 50% of respondents having experience of using/needing ASC). We will co-design our priorities and approach, and work across the different policy/practice contexts of all four UK countries. Our delivery models will use techniques that support intended beneficiaries to engage as fully/frequently as they wish, with funds allocated to support participation of groups whose involvement without such resources would not be practical.

IMPACT's approach will be guided by our evolving 'Theory of Change' (see Pathways to Impact). Our delivery models (to be refined/extended as we go) will be continuously guided by the engagement of potential beneficiaries (see Case for Support). Examples of our activities, in which beneficiaries will be involved, include: 'prevention and wellbeing' (e.g. reducing loneliness for older people); 'person-centred and assets-based approaches' (e.g. personalising care for people from BME communities); 'carers' health, wellbeing & social inclusion' (e.g. combining paid work & unpaid care); 'sustaining & supporting the ASC workforce' (e.g. supporting staff to care for others); 'strategic planning & leadership' (e.g. developing practice leadership skills); 'unmet care & support needs' (e.g. improving support for self-funders); 'technology in care' (e.g. helping providers choose the 'right' technology); 'new models of provision' (e.g. intergenerational working in residential care); and 'care, housing & health' (e.g. creating integrated neighbourhood teams).


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