July 23, 2021
Obert Tawodzera is part of the team behind IMPACT – a brand new centre dedicated to improving adult social care together with those who use and deliver services. Here he explains more about their plans and how you can get involved.
Like a lot of public services, adult social care across the UK was under a lot of pressure before COVID. However, the neglect and fragmentation of the sector has been so tragically exposed during the pandemic and existing inequalities have got worse. Lots of people are talking about how things need to be different in future, and adult social has never been higher profile than it is right now – albeit for the wrong reasons.
If we are to ‘build back better, then we need to draw on evidence of what works and what will make the most difference for people using services. However, this is difficult in social care, which often lacks the funding, time and space to be able to think about implementing really new ways of working, and which hasn’t had the practical support needed to bring about change.
IMPACT, which stands for Improving Adult Care Together, is a new centre for implementing evidence of what works in adult social care across the UK. The centre is led by Professor Jon Glasby at the University of Birmingham, with a leadership team of 12 other academics, people using social care services, and policy and practice partners– alongside a broader coalition of stakeholders from the sector and across the four nations of the UK. The centre is funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Health Foundation for seven years – which is an incredible and unprecedented opportunity to make a real difference.
IMPACT is an 'implementation centre', which means we aim to put evidence into practice to improve services and people’s lives. We will draw on the knowledge gained from different research evidence, the lived experience of people using services and their carers, and the knowledge of social care staff. At IMPACT, we believe that ‘good support isn’t just about ‘services’ – it’s about having a life’. In pursuit of this broad vision of adult social care, we want to support practical improvements on the ground and contribute to longer-term cultural change by:
We are committed to working together with people with lived experience of social care, those providing unpaid care, people working in adult social care, policy experts, social care providers, commissioners and researchers, from all four nations of the UK. We hope that this will help us better understand the factors that support and hinder the use of evidence in adult social care practice and use this knowledge to make sure that our investment has the biggest possible impact.
Our work is spread over three phases of development (‘co-design’, ‘establishment’ and ‘delivery’). We are currently in our initial stages of engagement, where we are holding national and regional ‘Assemblies’ with users, carers and people who work in adult social care across the four nations of the UK, to help design our work. In addition, we are also meeting other stakeholders like social care organisations, professional bodies and policymakers to learn from their experiences.
We are also carrying out a national survey to get the views of everyone affected by social care. This will contribute directly to how we allocate the funding we have received – so it would be great if you could complete this and help to shape what we do!
From 2022, we will be getting ready to start delivering practical improvement projects on the ground, working with local services to provide hands-on support and learning with the sector about how to use evidence effectively in practice. We will be also working hard to feed solutions into policy and spread good practice, so everyone can benefit.