Research capacity, knowledge, skills and use in Councils with Adult Social Care Responsibilities

Research capacity, knowledge, skills and use in Councils with Adult Social Care Responsibilities

Findings from an online survey of research active Local Government staff

Dr Chris Rainey, Dr John Woolham and Dr Martin Stevens

This report examines the state of social care research activity and the extend of research governance in local authority settings, the use of evidence made by practitioners and managers, and the ability of local authorities to commission external research and secure good value for money.

The study took the form of an online survey and used a broad definition of “research”. It was sent to a complete enumeration of all English local authority research contacts, derived from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the SSRG/SCIE list of Research Governance leads and 150 Directors of Public Health. There were 108 responses, covering 70 local authorities.

“In-house research is critical to finding out what, how and why services are delivered and what difference they make. The survey points to the need to reinvest in local research capacity to ensure sound evidence is used” (Dr Chris Rainey)

To improve adult social care practice in England, and support initiatives to develop greater evidence-informed practice, there must be greater investment in research capacity and skills in the sector. This report and its recommendation will support discussions of research activity and capacity within local authorities and how best to support wider research engagement” (Professor Martin Knapp, Director of PSSRU & NIHR SSCR)

About the authors

Dr Chris Rainey is the Social Research Manager at the Public Health Research Unit in West Sussex County Council.

Dr John Woolham is Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Health and Life Science at Coventry University. He is Vice Chair of the Social Services Research Group.

Dr Martin Stevens is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. He is Chair of the Social Services Research Group, and also chair of the National Social Care Research Ethics Committee.