Joint Children’s and Adults' Leaders' Forum hailed as success

16 July 2015

Leaders' Forum 2015Research in Practice and Research in Practice for Adults joint Leaders’ Forum brought together strategic leads from across children’s and peoples sectors for discussion, debate and sharing information on community engagement, community resilience and building social capital.  

Senior leaders of children’s and adults’ services gathered in Coventry on 4-5 June for the first joint Research in Practice (RiP) and Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) Leader’s Forum. With this year’s theme focused on community engagement, community resilience and building social capital, the programme was packed with speakers from research institutions and the public and voluntary sectors.

Concentrating on the importance of relationships, challenges to changing practice and the need to take risks, the forum highlighted the need to do things differently in order to improve outcomes and experiences for service users.

Delegates were challenging and energetic in their questions to speakers, and subsequent discussions included the role of elected members in connecting with communities, the importance of a sense of place for strong communities, and how to better engage with communities and young people.

Leaders’ Forum highlights included:

  • Wigan Council introducing their deal with the community to improve community engagement with both children and adults.
  • An introduction to experience-based co-design and the use of ‘trigger films’ to prompt discussion with workers and service users about the quality of services from Louise Locock, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
  • A review of a community development project in the United States that has promising results in reducing referrals for neglect from Brigid Featherstone.
  • The importance of social networks and informal help and support, including research from Blackburn with Darwen and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Feedback from the event proved positive with delegates commenting:

  • “Good wide range of angles on a very relevant topic.”
  • “I enjoyed being immersed in community resilience rather than it operating on the periphery.”
  • “Best conference/event I have been to for a very long time, incredibly relevant and really well structured.”

Save the date

Next year’s event is scheduled for 9-10 July 2016. Further details will be released in the autumn.

Leaders’ Forum resources

Leaders’ Forum blogs

Alison O’SullivanHarnessing community capacity to support children and families

Alison O’Sullivan, Director of Children’s Services at Kirklees Council, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and speaker at our Leaders’ Forum, discusses harnessing community capacity to support children and families. Also see Alison’s Storify documenting the Leaders’ Forum.


Brigid FeatherstoneReconnecting social work, families and communities

Brigid Featherstone, Professor in Social Work at the Open University, and speaker at our Leaders’ Forum, discusses community capacity to help strengthen social work impact, bringing together evidence and research from the UK child protection system and studies from the United States.


Philly HareCreating 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 Leaders’ Forum: Changing the conversation – building community resilience and social capital, discusses their work in creating dementia friendly communities.

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