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  • 1. FIRM FOUNDATIONS: Creating a climate for research utilisation across children’s services Colleen Eccles, Assistant Director, research in practice PEPE conference, Edinburgh , 2008
  • 2. Aims of Today’s Session
    • What works in implementing strategies to encourage research use and evidence-informed practice in policy and practice
    • 2. To look at the ‘change project’ model as a means of engaging practice with research and producing tools for change
  • 3. research in practice : who we are
    • Since 1996, we have developed into the UK’s largest research utilisation project in the children and families field with a network of over 80 participating agencies. We cultivate an active relationship with participating agencies that is:
      • collaborative
      • supportive - sharing ideas and resources
      • developmental
      • committed to developing learning organisations
      • designed for life-long learning
    • research in practice offer a six-strand programme that supports the development of an evidence-informed culture - encouraging critical thinking and engaging policy makers, managers and front-line staff.
  • 4. Barking & Dagenham Birmingham Blackpool Bournemouth Bracknell Forest Brent Brighton & Hove Bristol City Buckinghamshire CAFCASS Cambridgeshire Cheshire Children’s Society Cornwall Coventry Cumbria Derbyshire Devon Dorset Dudley Durham County East Sussex Essex Gloucestershire Hackney Hammersmith & F’ham Hampshire Harrow Hertfordshire Kensington & Chelsea Lambeth Lancashire Leicester City Leicestershire Medway MENCAP Merton Newham North Yorkshire Northamptonshire Northumberland NSPCC Plymouth Portsmouth Reading Sheffield Slough Somerset Southampton Southwark St Helens Staffordshire Stockport Suffolk TACT Tameside Together Trust Torbay Waltham Forest West Berkshire West Sussex Westminster Wigan Wiltshire Windsor & Maidenhead Wolverhampton Barnsley The network
  • 5. The six strands of our work
    • Change Projects:
    • Organisational Support
    • Leadership
    • Using research in evidence in Court
    • Young women and alcohol
    • Publications:
    • Practice handbooks
    • Research reviews
    • NetWork
    • Audio CDs and DVDs
    • Research briefings
    • Champions for Children
    • Website:
    • www.rip.org. uk
    • Network Exchange:
    • Email exchange groups
    • Regional meetings
    • National events
    • Learning Events:
    • Research message and support workshops
    • Case study workshops
    • Partnership conferences
    • E-learning
    • Joint work with RiPfA:
    • New sister organisation working with adults
  • 6. Evidence-informed practice: about the approach
    • Evidence-informed is an approach which seeks to:
      • increase research-mindedness
      • encourage critical thinking
      • cultivate innovation, experimentation,
      • reflection, evaluation and review
      • support research dissemination
      • support implementation and adoption of
      • research findings
      • promote decision making informed by sound
      • research evidence
    • We use the term evidence-informed rather than evidence-based to reflect combining the best available research evidence with the practice expertise of professionals and the views of service users.
  • 7. Consensus?
    • best available evidence should INFORM practitioners’ decisions
    • practitioners draw on different types and sources of evidence
    • a considered and thoughtful process
    • influence of research often subtle and indirect
    • multi-disciplinary teams make clarity about the social care evidence-base even more important
  • 8. Debate?
    • what counts as ‘best evidence’?
    • practitioners finding and using research to inform individual cases?
    • explicit reference to the influence of research on decisions and proposals?
    • who’s responsible for developing research knowledge and use?
  • 9. Whose responsibility?
    • National requirements
    • ‘ Research, analyse, evaluate and use current knowledge of best social work practice.’
    • National Occupational Standards for SW
    • ‘ 90 hours or 15 days of study, training, courses, seminars, reading, teaching or other activities which could reasonably be expected to advance the social worker's professional development, or contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.’ GSCC re-registration policy
  • 10. Whose responsibility?
    • Quality Strategy for Social Care
    • ‘ Excellent councils will ensure…that there are clear mechanisms for keeping staff up-to-date with practice development, research findings and active participation in research and learning networks…[and] that there is a shift to a culture of continuous improvement.’
    • Department of Health (2000)
  • 11. Whose responsibility?
    • research in practice ’s experience
    • There are limits to what (even very committed) teams and individuals can achieve alone. They need:
    • leaders who embed the use of research in the organisation’s culture and bloodstream
    • processes that reinforce these expectations
    • enabling facilities and opportunities
  • 12. Echoes in other people’s findings
    • ‘ The role of leadership and senior management was noted to be crucial in demonstrating the value of research as a source for new ideas, in accessing and making use of research, in encouraging research by practitioners and in active collaboration with research producers.’
    • Barnardo’s (2000)
  • 13. Change Project Method
    • Stage 1: Idea generation
    • Stage 2: Scoping Study
    • Stage 3: Experts Knowledge Exchange
    • Stage 4: Recruit and run CP group
    • Stage 5: Produce an Action Pack
    • Stage 6: Pilot and Evaluate Action Pack
    • Stage 7: Produce a Handbook
    • Stage 8: Launch and Publicise
    • Stage 9: Promote and support use
  • 14. Leading Evidence-Informed Practice
    • A tried and tested handbook
    • 31 agencies involved
    • theoretical ideas
    • tools / exercises
    • ‘ wise words’ & ‘top tips’
    • audio CD of experiences
    • real examples
    • ‘ dig deeper’ resources on the website
  • 15. What the Handbook covers
    • Looks at motivational leadership
    • How to encourage learning and improvement
    • Sustaining change and momentum
  • 16. Tools
  • 17. Firm Foundations handbook
    • Guidance
    • Ideas and advice
    • Tools / exercises
    • Video CD
    • Links to real examples and ‘dig deeper’ resources
  • 18. The Firm Foundations handbook covers:
    • Why use research evidence?
    • How to gain and maintain organisational support for evidence-informed practice
    • How to develop strategy
    • How to improve access to and learning from research
    • How to support local research
  • 19. Five ‘firm foundations’
  • 20.  
  • 21. Research Use in Court
    • Scoping Study
    • Practical guidance
    • Tools
    • Video CD
    • Links to real examples and ‘dig deeper’ resources
  • 22. Key Issues How do we define social work expertise? How do we convey and assert social work expertise? Are expert witnesses appointed thoughtfully?
  • 23. Key Issues What level of confidence do other professionals working in the family court have about the evidence presented by social workers? How are the judiciary research informed? How can we improve the confidence and Competence of social workers?
  • 24. Focus on Practice
    • Highlights innovative practice found within the Network.
    • Practice examples are also on film
    Page 64
  • 25. Conclusion
    • EIP is a shared responsibility
    • Leadership influences the culture of an organisation, therefore it is of utmost importance to have leadership support for EIP
    • Organisational support is essential to embed the approach so that it amounts to more than the enthusiasm of a few individuals
    • Individual practitioner awareness and confidence in applying critical thinking is central to making good evidence informed decisions
    • [email_address] www.rip.org.uk