How We Work and What are we doing?
The School will benefit social care practitioners and the social care sector in assisting them in taking forward their research and evidence based practice aspirations, and benefit research providers in supporting them engage with the social care sector in the delivery of research that makes a sustained and tangible difference. This includes care quality, and improvements in identified priority areas. The School’s activities will inform improvements in the delivery of quality social care for children, young people and adults as outlined in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 with its focus on wellbeing, people, prevention and integration.
The main areas of work for the School are below and the more detailed School strategy is available on the Resources page.
Social Care Research Capacity Building:
The School aims to increase the capacity of social care research in Wales. To achieve this the School has some key areas of work to support and enhance a social care research culture across Wales. These include:
- Support and enhance social care research cultures. In this work the School will work and support Social Care Wales, Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) programme across Wales, social care managers and consultant social workers in progressing enhanced research cultures and activities. In the first instance this will occur through discussions about opportunities, research needs and research practices. From these consultations, critical questions and issues will be identified about what is needed to support research engagement and the best role the School may play.
- Social care service evaluation support. The School will develop proposals for the delivery of social care service evaluation support and a repository of accessible social care evaluation tools, with School collaborators.
- Quantitative data sets. The School will discuss a role it might play in relation to responding to gaps and requirements for accessible and relevant social care quantitative data.
- Administer a capacity-building programme: The School with release research development funds allocated to support research capacity building specifically for social care practitioners, managers, educators and students. There are a number of possible mechanisms for this capacity building such as critical reflection time buy-out, pilot and accelerator projects, mentorship supports and exchange programmes, practitioner research projects, regional practice and research networks etc. Wales.
- Workforce development: The School will work with Care Council for Wales and the Health and Care Research Wales Support Centre in relation to workforce development to strengthen professional training in social care research. It will draw on CPEL and consultant social worker routes and link to studentships through the ESRC DTP and H&CRW initiatives. Further partnerships with local government and large third sector organisations are achievable, following the success of such partnerships in the existing ESRC DTP. Emphasis will be on Master’s level as well as Doctorate level.
- Social Care research community: In collaboration with Health and Care Research Wales, the School will facilitate a community of learning with the All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (ASCC) students as champions for social care research and links with a wider cohort of research students with shared events seminars and workshops.
Developing Evidence Enriched Practice:
The work of the School will be informed by the Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) approach. This approach is an appreciative, collaborative and democratic approach to the discovery, exploration and use of research alongside contextual knowledge in service and workforce development.
The DEEP project was developed through a partnership involving the All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (ASCC), the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and six practice sites (five in Wales and one in Scotland). This pilot project was led by Swansea University and informed by principles of dialogue, multiple sources of knowledge and collaboration.
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Public Involvement and Engagement
The School aims to lead by example in facilitating, developing, and championing innovative and fully embedded public involvement in all appropriate aspects of social care research in Wales. The School has members of the public recruited through the Involving People Network on its Advisory group which provides strategic direction for the School. The School also has a network of ‘Friends of the School’. This newly established network aims to promote and encourage public engagement in the work of the school through regular communication highlighting upcoming events, news and opportunities to be involved in the work of the School. Sign up at the bottom of the page to become a 'Friend of the School'.
There are other bodies in Wales with aligned responsibilities. Social Care Wales has a legislated responsibility for “Supporting the development of research capacity and applied research and assisting policy makers locally and nationally in developing best practice”. The School will collaborate closely with Social Care Wales in its work. The Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure includes research centres with social care agendas and research and development support functions. In addition, Welsh universities are engaged in generating social care research, knowledge mobilisation and capacity building and with distinctive expertise (e.g. WISERD (Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data and Methods), CASCADE (Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre) and Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA). The School strategy is based on the premise of working collaboratively with these organisations in order to support and strengthen social care research across Wales. It will not duplicate existing research activity.