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Research and Policy Updates

Our monthly Research and Policy Updates give you an in-depth digest of the latest research evidence and policy information relating to key themes and sector priorities. You need to be a Partner, member or individual subscriber to access Research and Policy Updates.

Latest Issue:

RPU 116 July 2016


This month’s Research and Policy Update focuses upon parents who have care and support needs and are looking after young children.

Featured research summaries indicate the breadth of the theme, examining issues affecting parenting that are varied and distinct. The articles included examine the social participation of parents with learning disabilities, the impact of financial vulnerability on mothers’ and children’s wellbeing, the role of community practitioners where a parent has a life-threatening illness and links between maternal alcohol misuse and mental health problems. It is clear from the findings that a good understanding of specific parenting issues can improve outcomes for all family members.

Whilst it is wide ranging and often complex area, there are also common threads to work with individuals in relation to their role as parents. It is vital that the interrelated nature of the wellbeing of parent and child is understood and at the centre of this work. The significance of some key social care approaches is also apparent; particularly in relation to working with strengths, whole-family approaches to assessment, multi-agency and integrated working. These are just a few highlighted approaches that can support practitioners to fulfil their role in accordance with the Care Act 2014 guidance, which states:

‘The intention of the whole-family approach is for local authorities to take a holistic view of the person’s needs and to identify how the adult’s needs for care and support impact on family members or others in their support network.’

Care and Support Statutory Guidance (DH, 2016), paragraph 6.65. Issued under the Care Act. DH 2014

Relevant RiPfA resources

Young carers and their families: Confident assessment practice (Practice Tool, 2015)

The Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014 (section 96) place new requirements on children’s and adult social care to identify young carers and assess their needs.

Set within the context of these two Acts, and with a focus on whole family approaches to working with young carers and their families, this Practice Tool aims to equip people working in children’s and adult services with skills and confidence to work with young carers and their families. This is not an assessment tool, but a tool to support practitioners to develop the skills needed to build relationships with young carers and their families.

Good assessment: Practitioners’ Handbook (2014)

Good practice in assessment is an essential part of effective social care. This handbook sets out the law, policy, evidence and theory that underpins good assessment. It helps assessors and organisations to improve their assessments in line with best practice and with the Care Act 2014.

Supporting good assessment: Practice Tool (2014)

These practical tools support organisations to deliver good assessment, develop good assessors, ensure the right support for assessment and think through the implications of delegating assessments to other parties. The tools reflect good practice that is consolidated by the Care Act

They can be used by organisations to review and strengthen their assessment delivery.

Achieving outcomes through integrated working: Strategic Briefing (2015)

The Care Act places additional emphasis on the already established imperative to integrate health and social care services, in order to focus on the outcomes that people who access care and support want to achieve. This briefing explores how ideas, approaches and concepts such as systems leadership can support integration, the barriers and enablers that need to be addressed, and provides examples of where integration has worked well. 

Working with outcomes: Practice Tool (2014)

This resource looks at good practice in terms of working with outcomes, identifying potential barriers and enablers to working in an outcomes-focused way. It contains tools and templates to support good conversations as well as identifying, enabling and reviewing outcomes with people in receipt of services and carers. 

Making an outcomes approach work in practice: Key Issue (2014)

How can we support people using social care services to define the outcomes they want for themselves? Which approaches will work for everyone – people using services, staff and commissioners? 

This Key Issue draws on the ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ project and other practice areas to explore how to get an outcomes approach into practice. It includes policy context, definitions of outcomes and practical examples of outcomes-based practice and focuses on explaining the approaches that work. 

What are outcomes? Customer Guide (2014)

If a person needs care or support, their outcomes are what they want their care and support to help them achieve. Any care and support they receive should be aimed at helping them achieve their outcomes. 

This Customer Guide provides a jargon-free introduction to outcomes, explains how they work and sets out what to expect.

Promoting well-being in adult services: Key Issue (2013)

Well-being is a crucial element of defining and delivering adult care. The well-being agenda has influenced recent changes in the structure and focus of adult services and the Care Act formalises this approach by proposing a duty for local authorities to promote an individual’s well-being. 

This Key Issue sets out the background and policy context to this focus on well-being, before looking at how well-being is defined and promoted within adult services. While the possibilities for a focus on well-being to improve adult services are emphasised throughout, the concluding section identifies the key difficulties local authorities may face in re-focusing service delivery to place greater emphasis on well-being. 

 This RPU is also available to download as a PDF file.Icon: PDF. Download this RPU as a PDF file.

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