A co-produced Evidence Review between Research in Practice and Social Care Future begins
Jeanette Sutton: Associate Research in Practice
A few months ago, Social Care Future and the organization I work with, Research in Practice, embarked on a new partnership. At Research in Practice, we were very inspired by the Five Key Changes proposed by the Whose Social Care is it Anyway inquiry and we all discussed how we could best work together to support the case for change.
Research in Practice have been going for over 20 years in the space of evidence-informed practice for social care practitioners. We know that there are many, many, different types of evidence – not just that produced by a research study! Evidence-informed practice means we bring together different forms of evidence – research, lived experience, and practice knowledge in an accessible format, through resources, our website, podcasts, and workshops.
Our ‘Evidence Reviews’ are one example of how we do this. Evidence Reviews look at the really big issues in adult social care – for instance, we’ve just published one on ‘Ageing Well’. When we heard about the Five Key Changes we knew we could bring our expertise to the work, underpinning the Changes with evidence, in the form of an Evidence Review.
We’re excited to be coproducing this Evidence Review from the very start. Working with people who are interested in co-producing this evidence review will make it not only better and richer, but also a way to live the values set out in the Five Key Changes. Using the experiences and expertise of people who actually draw on social care as the starting point, and bringing this together with other forms of evidence from research and practice, were our guiding principles.
We put the call out and got a varied set of responses from people interested in taking part. Some people had long direct personal histories with social care; some support others; others found social care entering their life later on. I spoke personally to all the people who responded to the survey individually, via an online meeting or the phone, to answer any questions, and get to know a bit of their stories.
I say ‘answer any questions’ – there were a lot of answers I didn’t know! The point of doing a co-produced resource is that you don’t know exactly where it’s going to take you or what you’ll find out on the way. But we do know the next step – having a larger event to launch the project. We have invited people who have expressed an interest in the evidence review, as a chance to meet one another and share their thoughts.
I have been working with Research in Practice for around fifteen years, and I can honestly say this is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved in! It’s a little scary and overwhelming, too. But isn’t that what, as one of the Key Changes puts it, what sharing power as equals is all about? Watch this space as we share our learning as we go.