Our blog is a hub for sharing news, information, research, evidence, analysis and debate. Blog posts are written by and for professionals across the sector. The views expressed are the authors’ own and do not represent those of Research in Practice for Adults.

Working effectively with people living with dementia and their families

We are moving away from the traditional focus of working separately with a carer and person living with dementia, with their unique set of problems all in splendid isolation of each other. In this blog, Damian Murphy emphasises the rights, the voice and lived experience of people living with dementia.

Responding to the voice of older carers – building on what works

The voice of older carers and their experiences of transitioning to this role in later life should underpin our work with carers. The latest Practice Tool is designed to support practitioners on working with an increasing population of older carers.

The case for trauma-informed supervision for police officers

When someone experiences trauma there is consistent and clear evidence that show the natural psychological responses that occur. Attuned and reflective supervision, enables us to hold genuine empathy, respect and unconditional positive regard for those we are trying to support.

Working effectively with people who use alcohol and other drugs harmfully

Alcohol and drugs are an issue for so many of the families that come into contact with social care services. In this article we consider the potential impact of harmful substance use on individuals and their families, and the sort of interventions that may help to support them both.

Strengths-based practice

Strengths-based practice is a collaborative process between a person supported by services and those supporting them. It allows them to work together, drawing upon a person’s strengths and assets to achieve positive outcomes.

Embedding human rights across adult social care

The Human Rights Act is unique in UK domestic law in that it focuses on humanity – the protections and freedoms every person has as a member of society – as opposed to focusing on people’s behaviour, needs or identity.

What does 21st century accountability look like?

In order to ensure empathy remains a core social work value, we need to develop a system that allows professionals to make decisions about services. However, we still need to maintain an organisational environment that is open to challenge and questions.

Critically reflective practice

Making good judgements with and for people is the essence of social care. Time to reflect, time to think, time to use wisdom and expertise, time to consult with colleagues, time to look at research is not a luxury.

Understanding resilience in social work students

Social work is a challenging career. What psychological factors are associated with resilience in trainee social workers? Dr Louise Bunce at Oxford Brookes University has led new research to find out.

Recognising the impact of loneliness

As humans, most of us thrive on building and maintaining relationships with one another for care, comfort and support. However, for growing numbers in society, loneliness is having detrimental effects on our health and wellbeing.

What is it about the care system that correlates with criminality?

What are the difficulties faced by people in prison who have been in care? Oli Preston looks at emerging programmes of work that are aiming to support this often overlooked group.

Social care, housing and homelessness

What is the current picture for social care, housing and homelessness? Our upcoming Partnership Conference will examine some of these key issues.

Restorative justice

While we know that restorative processes work in the criminal justice system, we will see that they can have the same impact within social work. Hear about the potential for restorative practice to support transformational change for families.

Supervision for wellbeing

Supervision is about improving wellbeing – of the people you work with, your own and the wider system. In this blog, RiPfA explores in detail why we do supervision, creating a greater understanding of its purpose and what supervision is ultimately there to achieve.

Restorative Storytelling

Restorative practices can provide an explicit communication framework that can be used reactively to guide and support people when relationships have broken down, and proactively to teach others the skills that will help them build and maintain healthy relationships.

Preparing young people with special educational needs and disabilities for a good adult life

Differing legal frameworks governing Children’s and Adults’ Services, combined with the range of services involved in supporting young people in transition, can create challenges for practitioners in providing joined-up support for young people.

Protection and participation: Balancing risks, rights and responsibility

Clenton Farquharson looks at the risks, rights and responsibilities of disabled people. He considers how labels can often predetermine views and explores the challenges that need to be overcome in order to treat all people as individuals.

Getting informed, getting prepared: Understanding care and support for older people

Kate Baxter and colleagues at the University of York have produced open access resources that aim to provide answers to those who require information about social care, and support them as effectively as possible with their next steps.

Slow Shopping

Slow Shopping is for anyone with visible, invisible or intellectual disabilities who may find shopping stressful or challenging. It provides a safe space and time to think for all who need it, as well as their carers and families.

Evidence-informed communication

Good communication is not just about clear verbal or written articulation; it’s a combination of skills that includes listening, understanding and sharing information.

Innovative learning

In this post, Dyfrig Williams, Learning Events Coordinator at Research in Practice for Adults, shares approaches to innovation in learning and invites Partners to submit ideas around how we might improve our service.

Cuckooing: The exploitation of vulnerable adults

Cuckooing is a term used when criminal gangs target the most isolated, vulnerable members of the community, befriending them with the intention of taking over their homes. In this blog, Christalla Tanglis from the London Borough of Barnet, describes her experience in this area of practice.

Can home care visits be replaced with video communication?

Essex County Council has just completed a pilot project looking at whether it is possible to replace home care visits with video calls as part of reablement care packages. Here they discuss their findings and the role that they think video communication can play.

Delivering person-centred and technology-enabled care for people with learning disabilities

The concepts of person-centred and technology-enabled care can sometimes be perceived as mutually exclusive. Is it possible to bring them together in one package that recognises and meets a person’s social care needs?

Social services are agents of change for disabled adults

'Getting Things Changed' might sound ambitious. Yet social care practitioners are tasked with facilitating change every time they engage with disabled clients. This article considers just two aspects of a wide-ranging research programme.

Working together to prevent suicide

When someone decides to take their own life it can be due to a combination of different genetic, psychological, social and cultural factors. The signs are not always obvious but by working together we can raise awareness and become more adept at preventing suicide.

Barriers to evaluation

Applying reliable research methods to complex social interventions comes with many challenges that evaluators need to consider. In this blog, Oli Preston discusses some of the barriers to evaluation.

Transitional safeguarding from adolescence to adulthood

‘Transition’ is a process or period of changing from one state to another. Within some aspects of social care, in particular safeguarding, the notion of transition can imply a definitive ‘line in the sand’ where assumptions about capacity change overnight and eligibility for safeguarding support is very different depending which side of this line a person falls.

Modern day slavery: a look at human trafficking

Reports of modern slavery are consistently on the rise in the UK. Registered social worker and practice educator, Shabnam Ahmed writes about the work being done by Camden Council to raise awareness of the subject and what can be done to help those who have already been affected.

Safeguarding Adults: the view from the training room

Corinne Leverton and Anna Elwood are the authors of our recent Strategic Briefing. In this blog they reflect on the experience of writing the publication and offer a glimpse into the world of Safeguarding Adults trainers, with its joys, frustrations and challenges.

The Chatty Café: Promoting the joy of conversation

The Chatty Café aims to combat feelings of loneliness amongst people of all ages by promoting regular human interaction. A 'Chatter & Natter' table is located in every café within the scheme and encourages customers to simply sit and talk with each other over a cup of tea.

What is co-production, why would we do it and how can we implement it?

The knowledge gained through co-production with people with lived experience helps to shine a light on what is important to them and the wider group they identify with. It provides opportunities to generate ideas and strategies to overcome challenges and ultimately improve services.

Fundamental drivers of good co-production in the commissioning of disabled people's services

The fundamental driver of good co-production is for commissioning staff to actively listen to disabled people about their lived experiences. Just as important, is listening to them from the outset of the commissioning process and throughout so that disabled people can have a stronger voice in the commissioning of social and health services

Participatory research with learning disabilities

Involving service users in the development and delivery of an evaluation can offer deep insight into a service and help shape the way evaluators find out whether it has been successful or not.

Co-client or co-worker?

Historically, carers have felt undervalued and under-supported so it is important that their contribution to the care system is recognised. In this blog, Liz Lloyd looks at the impact carers have and asks whether they should be regarded as co-clients of the people they care for, as partners of the service providers, or as both?

Improving outcomes and saving money

In this blog Rob Greig considers the evidence surrounding the cost effectiveness of employment support for people with learning disabilities and those with mental health conditions. He asks why this evidence is not widely being used by local authorities in their commissioning practice.

United - not divided

United for All Ages discuss bringing older and young people together for the benefit of all generations and wider society.

The quest to understand the sexual exploitation and mental health of adults

Jessica Eaton, author of our recent Sexual Exploitation and Mental Health: Frontline Briefing, writes about her work exploring the evidence relating to sexual exploitation, trauma and mental health.

Life story work in dementia care

We should always take an interest in the people we care for - their lives, their interests, their stories. Life story work involves gathering information and artefacts about a person you are helping, and producing a picture book or other tangible output that says something about their life, interests, hopes and wishes.

Asset-based work with communities

Asset-based work, along with its close relation strength-based work, has gained a lot of social care currency in recent years. But what is an asset, and how do we best work with them? The answers might not be as straightforward as we first think.

Recruiting for potential

A Skills for Care project is focusing on how social care and health employers can become more inclusive, by recruiting a workforce which better reflects their local community.

Working with complexity

As human beings we are by our very nature, complex. As individuals, within the world we inhabit with our families, friends, communities and beyond we all experience complexity in our lives.

Mapping the Maze

Katherine Sacks-Jones writes about her involvement with Mapping the Maze, a project which maps social service provision for women. The campaign aims to highlight support across the country and attempts to improve the lives of women who have complex needs.

After the Grenfell tragedy: The Chalcots experience

A Camden Council Service Manager reflects on the learning from the Chalcots Estate evacuation that occurred after the Grenfell tragedy and outlines some of the key social work capabilities needed during and after the evacuation.

Sexual exploitation: Women’s experiences of support

For women involved in prostitution the decision to leave or not return to services frequently puts them at a disadvantage. In this blog, Kathryn Hodges, an upcoming RiPfA Partnership Conference speaker considers the experiences of women who have been sexually exploited and when they seek help and support.

Hospitals: something to be avoided?

The importance of individual experiences, addressing underlying health inequalities and reducing the cost of health care is widely promoted as the benchmark of the impact of integrated care. However, the increase in acute hospital activity over recent years has been seen as a problem.

Improving awareness of sexual exploitation among adults

In this blog, Rosie McNamara explores the topic of sexual exploitation by looking through the definitions, identified risk factors and effects. She tries to understand why people still fail to mention the abuse they have suffered and what can be done to raise awareness.

Community Catalysts - Do Your Thing

How can we enable people to forge links with others with the same interests or aspirations, to make connections and maximise local assets? In this blog, Community Catalysts describe how they support people to explore their passions and think how they might put these to good use.

Embedding RiPfA into the London Borough of Lambeth

In this blog Link Officer of the Year, David Till, offers tips to help other Partners to get the best out of their membership to Research in Practice for Adults.

Financial abuse and scamming of adults at risk

Financial abuse is the second most commonly reported form of abuse. Becoming a victim can have significant consequences on the wellbeing of victims and it is an area of research which is critically relevant to social work practice.

Cook Together, Share Together, Learn Together

Cook Together, Share Together is a pilot in North Halifax supporting five people with learning disabilities to match them with a volunteer to prepare, cook and share a meal together once a week.

Students and Refugees Together (START): the importance of generic social work

This article describes a unique organisation in which social work student placements are harnessed to provide services to refugees. The values and principles underpinning START are placed in an historical context by the author in celebration of generic, strengths-based practice.

The Mental Capacity Act – are we there yet?

The Mental Capacity Act came into force in 2007. Ten years on, Mel Bramwell, Strategic Lead for the Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards at Gateshead, asks ‘are we nearly there yet’ as she reflects on the changes and their journey over the last decade.

From ‘successful’ to ‘useful’ – an exploration of failure

Determining the success or failure of social work interventions often relies on the application of measures that may overlook alternative unexpected outcomes or the multiple perspectives of people accessing services. Lydia Guthrie asks whether it is possible to move away from simplistic notions of ‘failure’ towards an approach that takes a broader view of outcomes and considers the experiences of people accessing services to determine the ‘usefulness’ of services instead.

Safeguarding adults – understanding good practice

The Care Act 2014 put the safeguarding of adults on a legal footing for the first time. Its implementation over the past two years, supported by national initiatives such as Making Safeguarding Personal, means that social care researchers, practitioners and managers have been testing out a range of responses to support adults at risk of abuse or neglect to improve or resolve their circumstances.

Opening the dialogue about suicide

Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day 2017. This year’s theme was take a minute, change a life. But how many of us are aware of the issues that surround suicide, and what are we doing about it?

The impact of kindness in adult social care

How do we define and capture evidence about whether kindness can make a difference, and what place could it have in adult social care?

The value of co-production

You don’t think about the moment you go from daughter to carer. It doesn’t really register, because you’re just doing what you’re supposed to do. It was a gradual process, a dripping tap that fills a bowl so slowly that you don’t notice it happening.

Can animals have an impact on our wellbeing?

It seems that in adult social care there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the theory that animals are ‘good for our health and wellbeing’. But is this grounded in reality?

Embedding human rights in adult social care

The universal protection of people’s rights is fundamental to adult social care practice. A human rights approach counters any national or global tendency towards the creation of a ‘hierarchy of humanity’ which treats some as less than human.

Confident social work practice with people living with dementia

Working with people living with dementia and those who care for them is an emerging key area of social work practice. The rise in the number of people living with dementia means that we as social workers need to ensure we have the right knowledge and skills to offer the best support we can.

Supporting outcomes-focused practice

RiPfA has just come to the end of a two-year Change Project with the Partner network. The project identified and built on best practice to develop a new range of resources to support outcomes-focused practice, as well as developing the Outcomes Triangle - a new concept and model to support outcomes-focused conversations and care planning.

Family group conference – embodying the social work of past and future

What is fulfilling and exciting for a social worker? If I had to boil down a complex professional life into a few words then for me, hope, connection and the experience of change are all important. Family group conferences (FGC) try to harness these three things by bringing a network of people together to problem-solve on their own terms.

Using a mentalising approach to support relationship-based practice

Mentalising is not a new thing. The term may not be immediately familiar, but it puts a name to something many of us are doing on a daily basis without even realising. It is a process that we use to reflect on, explore, and interpret our own and other people’s thoughts, beliefs, experiences and feelings, and how these influence behaviours and actions.

Working with people who hoard

Many people collect items. But when collecting things becomes excessive and begins to directly impact someone’s life, it can become problematic.

Living fully until you die: where rehabilitation and palliative care come together

Rehabilitative Palliative Care is an approach which both challenges and complements traditional concepts of palliative care provision. It enables people to live with control, independence and dignity alongside advanced progressive illness right up until they die.

How we are implementing learning and development in the South East London Teaching Partnership

As one of four National pilots in England, the South East London Teaching Partnership details its learning and development programme, which aspires to deliver high-quality learning and development for social work, from entry-level through to senior leadership.

The role of social work in supporting strengths-based approaches with older people

We live in an ageing society. There are increasing numbers of older people (mainly very old) living with complex co-morbid conditions, such as dementia, who need support to manage daily living. Social work has a key contribution to make to improving this group of older people’s quality of life and wellbeing; promoting autonomy, independence and dignity; and helping to deliver personalised care.

Developing effective commissioner–provider relationships

As everyone seeks to squeeze more out of the social care system, how can strong and positive relationships lead to improved and more cost-effective working practices?

The impact of health inequalities on people with learning disabilities

It is well known that people with learning disabilities have poorer health and die at a younger age than their non-disabled peers. These differences are to an extent avoidable, and are therefore called health inequalities.

Effective systems to support people with learning disabilities

Why is there a mismatch between policy expectations, the evidence base of what works, and the real experiences of adults with learning disabilities? Introducing the new Strategic Briefing on Effective Systems to Support People with Learning Disabilities, Rob Greig explores how changes to health and social care policy affects people with learning disabilities and services.

‘Belongingness and love’

Do we project our own fears of relationships onto people we support? Do we accept a risk adverse blame culture that collaterally marginalises people with learning disabilities? ‘Belongingness and love’ is a need, not a just a desire. Positive relationships are essential, but clear barriers remain for people we support. Accessible guidance can only work for people who are able to access it. So what about those who can’t?

Why we should be supporting relationships

We are sure most people would agree that relationships are crucial. The people in our lives - husbands, sons, family and friends - help to shape and bring meaning to our lives and we value each and every one of them. But what about people with learning disabilities - how are they supported or encouraged to have relationships?

Coercive control: the driving force behind domestic abuse

Controlling or coercive behaviour is a deliberate act which reduces an individual’s space for action, self-worth and self-determination. It creates an environment in which further abuse can be perpetrated. An understanding of controlling or coercive behaviour can’t be optional if social workers are to be confident that they are promoting and not jeopardising the service user’s safety.

Safety and happiness should go hand in hand

In December 2015, a new offence of controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship was brought into law. The law recognises that a pattern of coercive control lies at the root of domestic abuse. It is crucial that social workers have the correct support and guidance to respond appropriately to disclosures or observations of controlling and coercive behaviour, in order to effectively carry out safeguarding when working with people with care and support needs who may be at greater risk of harm and abuse.

What do we know about Social Care Personal Assistants?

Social Care Personal Assistants are a small but growing segment of the social care workforce in England. It is also a part of the social care workforce that little is known about. Research being carried out at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London aims to change this.

Why trust, time and small steps are key to working with people who hoard

Hoarding can have its origins in many underlying issues and forced clear-outs often only achieve a short-term fix. Making progress with people who hoard relies on building trust, understanding the root causes, and taking the time to make small steps. It is important to work closely with other agencies to ensure there is a consensus on potential risks and thresholds for concern, and coordinate agreed approaches to support the individual as well as keep them safe.

When planning gets personal – using the NICE guideline to support transition

What does personalisation mean? Helen Wheatley looks at how the NICE guideline – Transition from children’s to adults’ services for young people using health or social care services – was developed in a way that supports personalised transitions for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Enabling people with learning disabilities and autism to travel independently

The complexity of the public transport network can be a major barrier for people with learning disabilities and autism as they seek independence and engagement with the wider community. The Brandon Trust details their Travel Buddy Project, which helps individuals to travel safely and independently.

Making the Link Officer role work for you

Getting the most out of RiPfA membership and promoting a culture of evidence-informed practice can be challenging, particularly in times of economic unrest, budget cuts and pressures on care services. Here, the Link Officer of the Year details embedding learning and development and RiPfA at Lancashire County Council.

‘Just one person’

Older people persistently ask for a single, named coordinator for their social and health care. Services persistently fail to provide this – for all sorts of reasons, some better than others. How do we make progress on this?

Is it nice outside? Engaging people living with dementia and their carers with the natural environment

Activity and simply getting outdoors is good for us; and people with dementia are no different. With careful support, people with significant health and social care needs can get out into the garden, smell the flowers and listen to the birds.

The complexities of applying legal literacy in practice

When acting under statutory authority to meet people’s care and support needs, or to protect them from harm, intervention must be lawful, proportionate, reasonable and rational. Legal literacy involves exercising professional judgement to understand, interpret and apply legal rules in complex situations in order to achieve these aims. However, alongside legal literacy, ethical, professional, relational, knowledge, emotional and organisational literacies are needed to ensure that each unique situation is appropriately understood and responded to.

Supporting older people in a strengths-based way

There is a lot of interest right now across the UK in ‘strengths-based’ approaches to care and support. These top ten tips will help to support working towards the Care Act 2014 requirement to ‘consider the person’s own strengths and capabilities, and what support might be available from their wider support network or within the community to help’.

Getting it right – building relationships between commissioners and providers

Getting the commissioner/provider dynamic right is crucial if we are going to deliver services on time, to budget and to a high standard. But how many commissioners out there feel they are getting it right, and what is the key to establishing and strengthening these invaluable relationships?

Community connecting for people with learning disabilities – it’s about people not places

Being really connected within your community doesn’t just mean volunteering in your local charity shop – it means making friends with the other volunteers, and feeling empowered enough to call them up and invite them round for dinner without your support workers needing to risk assess the evening.

Working with risk

Frontline workers in social care, health and housing settings spend a lot of their time (and sleepless nights) weighing up risks in relation to the people they support. With fewer resources to go around, these dilemmas can become even more difficult.

Supporting best social work practice in safeguarding

The law recognises that a pattern of coercive control is the root of domestic abuse. Understanding and working with this new offence is very important for social workers in relation to their safeguarding practice with people who have care and support needs and who may be at risk of harm or abuse.

Domestic abuse and dementia: what do we know?

Domestic abuse is a widespread issue and the prevalence of dementia is increasing with our ageing population. It’s tempting to hope that longstanding abusive relationships somehow become more positive with age. The limited evidence we have suggests that, especially following the onset of dementia, this is not the case.

Top tips for developing emotional resilience in practice

As social care workers, we are good at caring for others but often we are not so good at looking after ourselves. If we are to be effective in our practice then we need to develop emotional resilience. So how can we thrive in the increasingly challenging world of frontline practice?

How do we establish and not misattribute causality?

When conducting an evaluation, the ultimate goal is to identify causality: did our activities (or ‘intervention’) cause the outcomes for service users that were observed? But how do we establish causality without misinterpreting data and either incorrectly assuming links where there are none, or missing them entirely?

Working with new migrant communities in Leeds: asset-based approaches in practice

The Migrant Access Project (MAP) in Leeds has been working with local communities to identify, harness and support the exchange of knowledge and skills in order to introduce new arrivals to living in Leeds. This gave birth to the Syrian Kitchen, a leading example of asset and strengths-based approaches that has resulted in numerous unforeseen positive outcomes beyond the new migrant community.

Leaders’ Forum: Let’s talk about devolution

What does devolution mean? Does it have implications for public services? And does it matter? This year’s Research in Practice for Adults and Research in Practice Leaders’ Forum focused on the topic of devolution in Children's and Adult Services.

New landscapes in social care workforce planning

What are the challenges facing the adult social care workforce and what new roles and approaches are emerging as services strive to adapt and evolve?

What are the critical success factors in appointing a Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR)?

The role of the Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) can be a paradoxical one. Even if they believe that a deprivation of liberty is in the person’s best interests, they must be willing to help them challenge it. This has proved problematic in some high profile cases. So how is it possible to put aside these personal views to support a friend or loved one? The solution may lie in a better understanding of the role and its responsibilities.

The hidden workforce: Maggie’s story

It starts with a weekly shop and taking your parents to the odd hospital appointment, and then there are more and more appointments. In the middle of it all you still want to be able to spend quality time with them as well, and before you know it, you’re a full time carer.

The difference a Carer Friendly Community can make

Creating a Carer Friendly Community can make a carer’s daily reality that little bit easier. This year, Carers Week is about Building Carer Friendly Communities and spreading examples of good practice.

Jointly sharing the care of a loved one

How can digital tools play a role in providing access to information and support in every area of our lives, including caring?

The hidden workforce: Ally’s story

At the start I didn’t consider myself a carer. I didn’t even question it. I was a parent doing my job, doing what you are supposed to do. You have a child and it is your responsibility. We felt very alone, in our house looking after a new baby that we knew there was something wrong with, but we didn’t really know what we were supposed to do.

It’s the little things that count – supporting social work practice with carers

With over 6.5 million carers across the UK, we need to make supporting this unpaid workforce a priority. RiPfA has been examining current practice and talking to carers about the changes we can make, as part of a project commissioned by the Department of Health.

A good death should be an essential part of a good life

What is important to people as they reach the end of their lives? And what role does social care have in providing the support they need to have a good experience of death? Gerry Nosowska explores what matters when it comes to end of life care.

From negative to positive - shifting the bias

What happens when we stop asking ‘what is wrong with you, what do you need’ and start asking ‘what things can you do, what matters to you’? If we move away from telling people what they need and start looking at what they can do already, what benefits might we see?

How can we involve people in safeguarding adults?

Involvement of people with care and support needs and their families and communities is a key theme in both the Care Act 2014 and broader public policy. Marmot (2010) highlighted that public bodies don’t only have an obligation to engage with users and carers – they also need to demonstrate that this engagement is happening. So how are councils from across England doing this when it comes to safeguarding adults?

Devolution and user involvement

Peter Beresford, speaker at our upcoming Leaders’ Forum, looks back at the existing evidence on devolution and participation, and how this may work in practice.

Coercive control – at the heart of domestic abuse

Polly Neate, CEO of Women’s Aid, focuses on controlling and coercive behaviour, what social workers need to know and how coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse.

When social work makes a difference

How can we assess the evidence on when social work makes a difference? Jo Moriarty and Jill Manthorpe, authors of a new report on the effectiveness of adult social work, discuss what we know and how we can build on this.

Seven Days of Action

Mark Neary presents Seven Days of Action, a campaign to raise awareness of the thousands of learning disabled people currently being held against their wishes in assessment and treatment units.

Devolution in England - what are the implications for Adults’ Services?

Under devolution deals, local areas will take on more powers, previously held by central government, in specific policy areas. This should mean local areas or structures will have greater control and decision-making power on how they commission and deliver services. But there is some scepticism over the extent to which local autonomy will be granted and how much power the Department of Health and other government bodies will retain over decisions.

Technical knowledge is not enough: exploring legal literacy as a concept and in practice

Legal rules must be interpreted and applied in complex human situations in which professional ethics and human rights principles also underpin professional practice. This skilled exercise of professional judgement, which integrates law (doing things right), ethics (doing right things) and rights (rights-based thinking), can be called legal literacy.

Reflections on working with risk

How can practitioners embrace working with risk? Rosie McNamara, author of our Risk enablement: Frontline Briefing reflects on her own experiences of working with risk and how can we enable the individuals we are working with.

Swimming against the current: how can we work to enable people living with dementia?

Imogen Blood is an independent researcher and the author of RiPfA’s new publication Enablement in dementia: Practice Tool – a resource which aims to help professionals understand enabling approaches to working with and supporting people with dementia.

Legal literacy in social care

Suzy Braye and Michael Preston-Shoot, authors of our recently released Strategic Briefing, discuss the importance of senior leaders, managers and practitioner’s knowledge of legal literacy; to understand, develop and respond to complex situations with the use of professional judgement.

Supporting transitions from hospital to home

Lisa Smith, Research and Development Manager at RiPfA, discusses the latest NICE guideline, reflects on the need for it, along with the development process, and looks at how it could be instrumental to support best practice in this area.

Reimagining adult social care; ensuring service users’ voices and views are firmly embedded in the work that we do

How can we involve people who use services and ensure that their voice and views are firmly embedded in the work that we do to support the adult social care sector? Lisa Smith, Research and Development Manager for RiPfA, highlights how we hope to weave those lived experiences into our work at our upcoming Partnership Conference.

Carers – let’s talk about you

Justine Collom is Principal Social Worker (Adults) at Medway Council. She recently came to a workshop with carers that was facilitated by RiPfA, as part of the work RiPfA has been doing to co-produce tools to support social work practice with carers.

DoLS assessments – how much time are they really taking?

Emma Goodall is a registered Social Worker in working in Cornwall and specialising as an Approved Mental Health Professional, Best Interests Assessor and Practice Educator. She is the co-author of a new research study published by Cornwall Council in December 2015. The research focuses on the time it takes Best Interests Assessors (BIAs) to complete their assessments and here she introduces the study, explains why they asked a research question and what they found.

Safeguarding and domestic abuse – a review of RiPfA’s research messages workshop

Sarah Murphy is Lead Practitioner for Safeguarding in Adult Social Care, Camden Council. Sarah originally wrote this blog as a piece in Camden’s internal staff newsletter - a great way to cascade learning from CPD activities. She details what was covered in the RiPfA workshop: Safeguarding and domestic abuse, and the impact it’s had on her practice, as well as linking to relevant services in Camden.

Link Officer of the Year: top tips for promoting evidence-informed practice

Deborah Towle is a Senior Intelligence Officer within the Directorate for People’s Commissioning Centre of Excellence at Birmingham City Council. One of her responsibilities is to support the development of evidence informed policy and practice. As the winner of RiPfA’s Link Officer of the Year 2015, Deborah discusses her top tips for promoting evidence-informed practice in her organisation.

Squaring the circle: making the evidence triangle more equal

Lisa Smith, Research & Development Manager, marks the end of RiPfA’s tenth birthday year with thoughts of what the future might hold and ‘where next’ for evidence-informed practice.

User Involvement in Adult Safeguarding - What Are You Doing?

Johan Baker, Adult Safeguarding Prevention Advisor, discusses the many strands of work that have been taking place in Wokingham to promote user involvement in safeguarding adults.

Courting evidence: Legal literacy in social care

Analysing key themes from our recent Link Officers’ Annual Meeting, RiPfA’s Senior Research and Development Officer, Lindsey Pike, and Learning and Development Officer, Katherine Bishop, explore the theme of legal literacy in adult social care.

Why the workforce is central to improving social care

Jo Moriarty is a Senior Research Fellow in the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London. She is an experienced social care researcher whose research interests have covered the social care workforce, social work qualifying education, support for family carers, dementia, ethnicity and ageing. As one of the expert commentators for our Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care, here she discusses the concept of a values-driven workforce, how building relationships can make a difference to the quality of care, and looks at what the workforce might need in order to deliver this.

User Involvement: Looking to the future

Peter Beresford is Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University and Co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, the national disabled people's and service users' organisation and network. In our newly launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care, he writes on the subject of involving people, co-production and advocacy.

Meaningful involvement and co-production: why we know more than we think we do

Rich Watts is the author of the chapter covering ‘Involvement, advocacy and co-production’ in RiPfA’s newly launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care. Rich is an advisor to the Integrated Personal Commissioning programme at NHS England, has acted as Programme Lead for Mental Health at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), and National Lead at the Office for Disability Issues. He was a Director at the Essex Coalition of Disabled People, and has also held other strategic and policy roles at the Disability Rights Commission and Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Promoting independence: the evidence for prevention

In the latest of a series of articles exploring the themes in RiPfA’s newly launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care, Professor John Bolton examines the case for prevention and early intervention in supporting people to retain their independence for longer.

Prevention in social care - all or nothing?

Robin Miller, author of the chapter on Promoting independence: maximising independence of people using care and support, in our recently launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care, writes about prevention, the evidence to support it as an approach, the potential barriers to it working in practice, and how we make choices about what courses of preventative action to take, if we can only do a fraction of what’s needed.

Reimagining social care: five key aspects of adult safeguarding

As part of a week-long series of blogs exploring the themes and issues in RiPfA’s newly launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care, Dr Adi Cooper, social care and safeguarding consultant and one of the review authors, discusses aspects of adult safeguarding.

Reimagining social care – where would we start?

David Walden CBE is the Editor of RiPfA’s newly launched Evidence Review: Reimagining Adult Social Care. With extensive experience in both policy and service provision across central government, national agencies and delivery organisations, he is well-placed to give an overview of the issues facing social care, and how we could start again, using the evidence we have available in order to build a new system of care from scratch. In this article - the first of a week-long series of blogs giving an insight into the topics covered by the review - he introduces the challenges and discusses some of the potential solutions.

Understanding multiple and complex needs

George Garrad has worked in the multiple needs and homelessness sector for the last six years. He is the Local Networks Manager for Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) where he oversees all of their practice-based work. MEAM is a coalition of Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind, formed to improve policy and services for people facing multiple needs. Together the charities represent over 1,300 frontline organisations and have an interest in the criminal justice, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and mental health sectors.

Appreciative Inquiry: how can we make decisions and formulate action plans for change?

What works? What would you like more of? What would the ‘very best of what is’ look like to you? Tish Elliott, Workforce Development Advisor of Adult Services at Devon County Council, and author of RiPfA’s recent Appreciative Inquiry (AI) publication, focuses on AI and the detail of what works in her blog.

Delivering personalised home care and the implications of new guidance

Jeanette Leech is a RiPfA Associate and has recently been involved with the guideline committee (GC) for the new NICE guideline on Home Care: delivering personal care and practical support. Here she discusses how NICE has expanded its remit to support the social care profession, and how the home care guideline, the first of its kind, was developed. She also talks about the key recommendations and implications for home care providers.

Working together towards personalised transition for young people with a learning disability, autism and behaviours that challenge

Zandrea Stewart is a qualified social worker and experienced senior manager of integrated learning disability and mental health services. She has a longstanding advisory position representing Association of Directors of Adult Social Services as the national lead for autism and as such has contributed to the development of guidance including the Autism Strategy and recent Statutory Guidance, NICE Quality Standards amongst others.

Why attachment matters in adult social care

Gerry Nosowska, author of our newly launched Frontline Briefing: Adult attachment: Implications for adult social care practice, talks about adult attachment theory, the evidence to support it and how to approach attachment-based work.

Safeguarding in light of the Care Act

Michael Preston-Shoot is Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of Bedfordshire. He is currently Independent Chair of Luton Safeguarding Adults Board and Luton Safeguarding Children Board. His recent research has focused on the governance of adult safeguarding and on building the evidence base for working with adults who self-neglect. Here, he takes a look at what is useful for senior leaders to know and also what is expected of them with regards to implementation of the new adult safeguarding provisions enshrined in the Care Act 2014.

10 years on: now more needed than ever

Chris Davies, Associate Director of Research in Practice for Adults, celebrates RiPfA’s tenth birthday and outlines reasons behind its continuing success.

War on Words

John Hamblin is the CEO of Shekinah, a charity operating across South Devon. Shekinah provides a number of services for people in the local area, including hostel accommodation, day services, street outreach support and a comprehensive education, training and employment programme. Here he discusses the use of language and labels society gives to those with high support needs.

Adult Social Care in Oxfordshire

Seona Douglas is Deputy Director of Adult Social Care in Oxfordshire County Council. She has a background in social care, originally in Children’s Services as a social worker and manager, until ten years ago, when she made the move into Adult Services. Here, she talks about the current priorities for Oxfordshire.

Looking after ourselves and each other - supporting resilience in the health and social care workforce

Esther O’Brien, National Policy Officer for Research in Practice for Adults, takes a look at emotional resilience in the health and social care workforce, drawing on her experience working as a clinical psychologist in Australia. Emotional resilience is a topic which is increasingly talked about in relation to communities. But it’s also becoming a key concern when it comes to the health and social care workforce, in terms of how we can adequately support the wellbeing of staff who are dealing with difficult issues day in and day out with no respite.

Promoting independence to support people living with dementia

Tracy Steel works for Carewatch, an organisation providing home care services to support people to live independently and safely in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. She has been working in care for over five years and has also worked as a crisis counsellor within the community. Here, she covers some simple and practical ways for families and carers to support their loved ones and help people living with dementia to maintain their independence and quality of life.

What role does regulation have in good safeguarding?

20 August 2015, Lindsey Pike

Lindsey Pike, author of the chapter on safeguarding in our upcoming Evidence Review: Reimagining social care, due for publication in November, talks about the role of regulation in safeguarding, and the current evidence base to support it.

Challenges, successes, changes, and the future of social care in Wiltshire

James Cawley is the Associate Director at Wiltshire Council. His role covers Adult Care Commissioning and Procurement, Strategic Lead for Safeguarding and the Lead on Housing Services. He is also a member of the RiPfA Partnership Board.

Partnership work in housing and health services – benefits beyond cost saving

28 July 2015, Rosie McNamara

Rosie McNamara, Research and Development Officer at RiPfA, discusses some of the powerful opportunities available for housing providers and health services to work together for benefits far greater than just saving costs.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - a system at breaking point

23 July 2015, Jen Matthewman

Jeni Matthewman, Communications Co-ordinator at RiPfA, recently interviewed Horatio Waller from the Law Commission about the review and consultation on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). Here, she gives an overview of the Law Commission’s provisional proposals for reforming the DoLS.

Reshaping Dementia Services - Involving and enabling people with dementia

3 July 2015, Katherine Bishop

How do we involve people with dementia in service planning and enable them to have a strong collective voice? Katherine Bishop, Learning and Development Officer for Research in Practice for Adults, brings together findings from our Involving People with Dementia workshop showcasing innovative projects from across the country.

Defining social care within integrated teams

The ‘integration’ of health and social care in the UK promises joined up services, organisational efficiencies, person-centred care, and more rewarding and positive work experiences for professionals. This presents both opportunities and challenges for those working to design and deliver care and support services.

Strategies for integrated care

Sarah Robens is a social anthropologist by training, who has specialised in social research and evaluation and worked across a range of issues including international development, and mental health, as well as health and social care. She has a particular interest in how policies get put into practice, and is the author of our latest Strategic Briefing: Achieving outcomes through integrated working.

Recollections Of The Early Years Of RiPfA

In celebration of its ten year anniversary, Alison Petch, previous Director of Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) recollects her time at RiPfA during its early years.

Allocating resources by need or defining needs by budgets? Taking a closer look at the circular case of the resource allocation system

Colin Slasberg originally trained as a social worker and is now an independent consultant working with a number of authorities on topics such as personalisation, assessment and resource allocation. He is the author of our newly published Leaders’ Briefing: Resource allocation and in this article he gives an overview of how resource allocation has worked until now, and the issues around moving to a new system as part of the Care Act implementation.

Creating a dementia friendly community: learning from Yorkshire and beyond

Philly Hare, Programme Manager (Ageing Society Team) of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and speaker at our upcoming Leaders’ Forum: Changing the conversation – building community resilience and social capital, discusses their work in creating dementia friendly communities.

Drink up, it’s time to go home

Paul Richards is the director, and co-founder of Stay Up Late, a charity that promotes full and active social lives for people with learning disabilities, and the home of the Gig Buddies project. Paul is also the Co-production Adviser for Think Local Act Personal, a national partnership transforming health and care through personalisation and community-based support.

What do we mean when we talk about mental health?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Here, Esther O’Brien, National Policy Officer for RiPfA, explores the definitions of and issues surrounding mental health.

Helping each other to understand sexual exploitation

Rod Landman is a Project Co-ordinator and Regional Development Officer for the Association for Real Change (ARC), an organisation supporting providers in the learning disability sector to deliver better services. Sharon Luke is a volunteer peer trainer on the ‘Helping Each Other’ project and also has learning disabilities. They previously worked together on the ‘Safety Net’ project.

Making young adult carers’ rights a reality

How can we support the rights of young adult carers? Chloe Alexander, Policy & Campaigns Officer (Young Carers & Young Adult Carers) at the Carers Trust, discusses the implementation of the Care Act and the Children and Families Act, and how we can support young adult carers’ transition to adulthood.

The right to vote doesn’t depend on mental capacity

Lucy Series is a research associate at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on disability rights, legal capacity and community care law. Lucy is also a RiPfA Associate and has worked on projects relating to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the deprivation of liberty safeguards, critical reflection and resource allocation systems in community care. Here, she writes about mental capacity and the right to vote.

Love social work, love evidence; love evidence, love RiPfA

Gerry Nosowska describes her journey from a social work student to professional practice; professional practice to manager; and from Research in Practice for Adults team member and beyond in our series of birthday blogs celebrating RiPfA’s 10th birthday.

Our first partner; Devon County Council’s ten years of RiPfA

As one of the first Partners of Research in Practice for Adults, Devon County Council has grown and developed alongside RiPfA for over ten years. Here Tish Elliott, Workforce Development Advisor for Adult Social Care at Devon County Council discusses the social care sector and their time as a Partner of RiPfA on its tenth anniversary.

Enabling housing providers to deliver effective safeguarding

Imogen Parry is a consultant, researcher and trainer specialising in adult safeguarding and housing. She co-chairs the Housing and Safeguarding Adults Alliance. Here, she sets out what housing providers must do to be more effective in safeguarding adults, what adult social care can do to assist them and why it is so important for housing providers and local authorities to address the barriers between them.

Celebrating 10 years of Research in Practice for Adults

Much changes over time – and some things hardly seem to change. How true this is of RiPfA, as it celebrates its 10th birthday. Celia Atherton is the Director of Social Justice at the Dartington Hall Trust, which fundamentally concentrates on promoting greater fairness within society. Having led Research in Practice for Adults since its conception in 2005, and as it celebrates its tenth year of service, Celia reflects on how the sector has changed over the last ten years.

Key issues for the sector in 2015

Lisa Smith, Research and Development Manager for RiPfA, writes about the priorities for the sector over the coming year, and how RiPfA will be addressing these with a brand new Delivery Programme of learning events and resources.

Lifespan safeguarding: supporting the whole person across the whole journey

It’s time to think about how we can accompany someone on their life journey when it comes to safeguarding, in order to make sure they get the best support. But is this really working in practice?

Personalising care for people with learning disability

Katie Burridge used to work in the events team at Research in Practice for Adults, before swapping her role supporting the learning of social care practitioners, to becoming one herself. Katie has been a social care enabler for three months now, and writes about her experiences of the role, and her particular focus on how to personalise care for each individual, by thinking in an outcomes-focused way and taking their needs, wishes and preferences into account.

Timebanking and co-production: an evaluation of Spice Time Credits

Time Credits is a concept where people volunteer time in return for physical Time Credit notes which they can then use in their community to access training, events or leisure activities. Here, Jude Luckett from Spice talks about their projects across England and Wales to develop this approach and the results of the evaluation they have just completed to assess how well the system works in practice.

How can we support people who self-neglect?

Professor Suzy Braye, Dr David Orr and Professor Michael Preston-Shoot, co-authors of our upcoming Practice Tool on self-neglect, ran a research project last year to understand this issue in greater depth and examine what works to support people who self-neglect. Here, they reflect on the complexities of self-neglect and share some of their findings.

All systems go – a new model of leadership for the future

Martin Reeves is Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, and in October spoke at the Research in Practice for Adults Leaders’ Forum about developing a ‘whole systems’ approach and a new leadership style in the development and delivery of services. Here, he explains more about this approach, and best practice in working with communities to tackle issues.

Involving people with dementia in the development of their own care

Katherine Bishop, Learning and Development Officer for Research in Practice for Adults, writes about the recent workshop held by RiPfA on the subject of involving people living with dementia in the design and delivery of care. She covers key insights and some top tips for how to run successful involvement events.

The 10 boxes of Christmas - engaging and involving people living with dementia in the run-up to Christmas

Christmas is an important time for families – a time to catch-up with relatives’ news, have fun, build new memories and reaffirm bonds. But how do you do that when a key member of the family has problems with communication and memory? Maizie Mears-Owens, Care UK’s head of dementia services, explains how using memory boxes as an advent calendar can help to involve people living with the more advanced stages of dementia in the celebrations surrounding the festive season.

Thriving in practice – building individual emotional resilience

Jessica Broome, Learning & Development Officer for Research in Practice, writes about the concept of emotional resilience, as well as some ways to develop it in ourselves. With special acknowledgement to Jo Fox, who also helped contribute both to this blog and to the Practice Tool on the subject, which is transferable to those working in Adult Services as well as Children’s Services.

Bringing research and practice closer together

Lindsey Pike, Research & Development Officer, writes about the challenges facing researchers and practitioners, in terms of joining up their working practices, sharing agendas, and developing research that is both relevant and able to be used in developing and delivering better practice., Research & Development Officer, writes about the challenges facing researchers and practitioners, in terms of joining up their working practices, sharing agendas, and developing research that is both relevant and able to be used in developing and delivering better practice.

Meeting the Health and Care Professions Council CPD requirements

Jane Halliday, Learning Resources Co-ordinator for Research in Practice for Adults shares her ideas about the ways in which our learning resources can contribute towards the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) requirements for continuing professional development.

"Co-production" - exploring the questions around this new ‘vogue’ topic

Jeanette Leech, Associate for RiPfA, writes: Co-production is a word that’s getting increasingly bandied around in adult social care. What is it? It’s the fairly radical idea that people who use services equally design and deliver services with professionals. It’s not consultation, it’s not feedback, it’s not tokenism.

Working with Outcomes: Looking beyond forms

Louise Johnstone (Research and Information Officer, Cumbria) has written about outcomes before, and in this blog she discusses working with outcomes, in the context of the latest Practice Tool Working with Outcomes that she produced for RiPfA recently. Her blog is a personal take on this topic.

Involving and listening to people living with dementia

Rachael Litherland writes about how we can work together to involve people living with dementia in the development and delivery of care services. As a director of Innovations in Dementia, a national community interest company, Rachael’s work is focused on supporting people with dementia to have their…

Get ready for Care Act assessment

Gerry Nosowska, author of our newly launched Good assessment: a practitioners’ handbook and the Supporting good assessment: practice tool, writes about the importance of good assessment and how the ability to assess effectively can enable service development and delivery across multiple themes and priorities.

Delivering the plan - addressing the priorities of the social care sector

Lisa Smith, Research and Development Manager,: Time seems to move rather quickly. It seems like no time at all since I was talking about our last delivery programme, and yet here I am to announce the next six months of events, resources and activities for RiPfA as we embark on a new stage of the journey.

Using Outcomes in Cumbria

Louise Johnstone and Cheryl Page write about their work on outcomes in Cumbria. A positive, detailed piece, it gives a summary of a well-received project.

Care Act Hub

Chris Davies, Associate Director of Research in Practice for Adults: The Care Act is undoubtedly the most significant reform of care in our time, with the ambition to put people and their carers in control of their own support. For the first time ever in the UK, the Act will cap the amount of money that people have to contribute towards the costs of their own care, with huge process implications for local authorities.

Democratic accountability in outsourced services

Research in Practice for Adults is holding an annual Councillors’ and Trustees’ Seminar on 13 November. This event will be run jointly with Research in Practice. The key issues and questions are discussed below. This blog was also shared on the Research in Practice website earlier this week.

Safeguarding adults: How can we hear people’s voices if asking the question is unethical?

Lindsey Pike, Research & Development Officer, writes about research, evaluation, safeguarding adults and ethics. The ethics of asking about safeguarding: with increasing emphasis on involving people in safeguarding and getting feedback about services in order to continuously improve them, local authorities are starting to address the questions...

The value of social care: can you measure the economic value of ‘soft’ outcomes?

Kath Wilkinson continues her series of blogs on Evaluation, by investigating if and how social care ‘soft’ outcomes, such as an individual’s well-being, can be measured in economic terms.

Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme

Tracey Robbins, Programme Manager for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme, writes about her work, and some of the points she will be discussing at our Leaders’ Forum.

Adults with multiple needs and exclusions: changing our approach

Lisa Smith, Research & Development Manager for Research in Practice for Adults, writes about her experience working to design services for people with ‘multiple needs and exclusions’, and shares some examples of promising practice around this client group.

The importance of evidence-informed practice - empowering the profession

Katherine Bishop, Learning and Development Officer, writes: most people are familiar with the definition of what it means to be an evidence-informed practitioner, but it is helpful to remind ourselves. It means combining professional judgement; relevant evidence from policy and research, alongside service user views to make informed decisions.

Action Learning and Action Research - immense potential for the sector

In this blog, Bruce McClure, Learning & Development Officer, writes about action learning and action research - and how both techniques have the potential to make an impact on practitioner and organisational learning.

Making Safeguarding Personal in Solihull

Joan McHugh, Development Manager at the Solihull Safeguarding Adults Board discusses how her local authority has been involved in the Making Safeguarding Personal project. It is useful reading for anyone who would like to see how involvement in a national project can lead development on the ground.

Dementia Awareness Week: The importance of starting to talk

Lisa Smith, Research & Development Manager, writes about the importance of starting to talk, for Dementia Awareness week. A personal viewpoint, Lisa shares the at-times confusing feelings provoked by our experience of Dementia. This week, RiPfA will be making a commitment to share stories and thoughts we see on Twitter – making our contribution to raising awareness and continuing the conversation.

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