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

01 April 2015

Devon County Council 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. 

“It seems fitting to be reflecting on changes to adult social care on the day that marks the implementation of the Care Act. The Care Act represents the most significant and wholesale reforms to adult services in the last century. It is the culmination of years of improvements and changes to the development and delivery of services, adopting new approaches to reach new goals to improve the experience and outcomes of people accessing those services.

We have seen many changes over the last ten years, not least the move away from processes towards people-centred service delivery. Devon County Council Adult Social Care services and Workforce Development (DCCASC and WD) has benefitted over this time from a productive and collaborative relationship with Research in Practice for Adults.

We find the range of resources and services provided by RiPfA invaluable in helping us to respond to these changes and keep at the forefront of best practice in developing our services. As an example of this, the Practice Tools are particularly useful, offering easy to access information in ‘bite-sized chunks’. They support busy practitioners to ensure their practice is evidence-informed.

A careful mix of core information and practice exercises in the toolkits have provided useful training and/or supervision tools focussed on a wide range of current social care themes: building resilience, supporting good assessment, making an outcomes approach work in practice, action research and action learning, good decision making and appreciative inquiry.

As social care has progressed away from a more procedural approach into personalisation and more recently towards a service user defined outcomes approach alongside the Care Act implementation, we have found the resources tremendously beneficial and reassuring in making concepts more accessible in complex day-to-day practice within the sector.

The networking, relationship-building and knowledge transfer opportunities that RiPfA membership provides have also been enormously useful, allowing us to share best practice with other service providers across the UK, comparing approaches and referencing against the evidence-informed resources provided by RiPfA to make the best decisions.  

In Workforce Development we have enjoyed jointly working with RiPfA on their tailored support programme using their research around ‘Getting Learning into Practice’. This helped our team to develop our knowledge transfer strategies, whilst also reviewing their materials prior to final production to ensure they are practice based.

Change is an inevitable part of growth. We have seen some big shifts in the landscape over the last decade and we know that there is more to come and more still to be done.  There will be challenges ahead, in the wake of the Care Act reforms, but we know that RiPfA will continue to work with us and the whole sector to respond to priorities and needs and make sure that together, we can make evidence-informed decisions about how to develop and deliver the best standards of care possible.”

Tish Elliott
Workforce Development Advisor for Adult Social Care - Devon County Council 

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