Our consultation, research and experience tell us that the social care workforce in Wales needs support and enabling in all five areas, but that real impact is made by brokering and co-creation.
Our formal evidence offer will be realised over three years, in all five areas, but with an early emphasis on brokering and working with partners on co-creation.
Dissemination - broadcasting
We’ll support local authorities to prioritise, helping them decide where they need evidence about current issues, or plan for new and emerging issues. We’ll commission summaries of evidence and research reports where there are evidence gaps and make sure people have access to them. We’ll also promote, good quality research which is relevant for social care in Wales.
We’re developing a website to help people who provide social care and support access and use high quality research, data and evidence.
We’re working on securing journal access for practitioners and finding a way to signpost to social care research and policy documents relevant for Wales. Along with the social care data portal, this will be integral to the digital aspects of our evidence offer.
Exchange - sharing
Our emphasis will be on collaborating, so we can promote learning opportunities and share knowledge from partners such as ExChange, Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) and Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP).
We’ll also make formal links with partners across in other UK nations who offer knowledge resources and events, such as the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Making Research Count, Iriss and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), making sure they’re relevant for Wales.
We’ll develop and plan knowledge exchange events with partners and support in the planning and delivery of their events.
We’ll be proactive in using our networks, website, social media and communication channels to make sure learning opportunities are well known across social care in Wales, and not just for a few well-informed people.
Brokering – connecting people
Helping researchers and practitioners connect is an important priority for us. We’ve started relationship building by reaching out to all local authorities to build a picture of the structures and processes already in place around research and evidence. We’re also contacting academics and researchers across Wales to make connections and support further developments and partnerships.
Relationship building has involved identifying evidence champions in each authority, bringing together research-minded practitioners and leaders to form an evidence community, which shares knowledge and ideas, and encourages evidence enriched practice. We’ve taken a community management approach to this with members able to network and collaborate on a digital platform which we support and maintain.
We will develop a research support offer, helping practitioners who are beginning academic research or carrying out practice research in their work settings to access support and mentoring. We will co-design an interactive research map to help practitioners and researchers in Wales connect.
Co-creation - doing together
We’ll carry out priority-setting exercises with local authorities to identify where they need evidence, also using information and feedback from our community and other networks and Mapping and connecting project.
We’ll help research projects develop evidence-informed enriched practice tools and resources. Our emphasis will be on tools and resources that promote co-creation, such as communities of practice, action learning sets and the DEEP programme’s approaches.
We’re working with SCIE to make sure our evidence offer works well for care providers. To do this, we’ll use a positive, strengths-based approach to listen to the voices of frontline care workers and work with partners including ENRICH (Enabling Research in Care Homes) Cymru and DEEP. We’ll work with user and carer-led organisations to ‘road test’ our evidence offer with people with lived experience, building on the work we’ve done with carers to hear their views about the use of research and data.
Capacity and capability - skills building
Building the right capacity and capability in the social care workforce underpins our approach and responds to what we heard from people who say they lack confidence in their ability to access, use and create evidence.
We’ll develop ways to help upskill workers to get them feeling more confident with research. One of the ways we’ll do this is by developing a curriculum for the DEEP programme. This will include:
- building skills for gathering, assessing and presenting evidence
- using evidence to talk and learn together
- putting learning into action
- supporting leaders to create environments for learning.
We’re looking at how this curriculum, as well as other capability building initiatives, can be included in existing learning opportunities, particularly the new social work post-qualification framework.
We’ll be clear about the skills needed to support the use of evidence so we can identify where there are gaps and address those gaps with opportunities for development. We’ll also promote the capacity building initiatives that are already available to social care, including those offered by Health and Care Research Wales and CASCADE.