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MORE THAN WORDS What must organisations do to support evidence-informed practice?. Celia Atherton and Rhiannon Hodson. Launch of Firm Foundations: a practical guide to organisational support for the use of research evidence. Introduction.

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more than words what must organisations do to support evidence informed practice

MORE THAN WORDSWhat must organisations do to support evidence-informed practice?

Celia Atherton


Rhiannon Hodson

Launch of Firm Foundations: a practical guide to organisational support for the use of research evidence

  • research in practice – a network of children’s services agencies committed to using research evidence to improve outcomes for children
  • what is Firm Foundations? A product and a process
  • firmly connected …
  • firmly built…
  • widely focussed…
  • best available evidence should INFORM practitioners’ decisions
  • practitioners draw on different types and sources of evidence
  • a considered and thoughtful process
  • influence of research often subtle and indirect
  • multi-disciplinary teams make clarity about the social care evidence-base even more important
  • what counts as ‘best evidence’?
  • practitioners finding and using research to inform individual cases?
  • explicit reference to the influence of research on decisions and proposals?
  • who’s responsible for developing research knowledge and use?
whose responsibility
Whose responsibility?

National requirements

‘Research, analyse, evaluate and use current knowledge of best social work practice.’

National Occupational Standards for SW

‘90 hours or 15 days of study, training, courses, seminars, reading, teaching or other activities which could reasonably be expected to advance the social worker's professional development, or contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.’GSCC re-registration policy

whose responsibility1
Whose responsibility?

Quality Strategy for Social Care

‘Excellent councils will ensure…that there are clear mechanisms for keeping staff up-to-date with practice development, research findings and active participation in research and learning networks…[and] that there is a shift to a culture of continuous improvement.’

Department of Health(2000)

whose responsibility2
Whose responsibility?

Research (1)

  • it’s shared (but the agency is significantly more responsible)
  • extent to which the agency encourages you to keep abreast of research: 5% a lot, 66% some/little, 25% none
  • physical facilities and opportunities: 45-67% satisfied

CEBSS survey of social care professionals

whose responsibility3
Whose responsibility?

Research (2)

‘The responsibility for EBP should be held by practitioners and guided by management’: 42% agree, 32% disagree, 26% unsure

‘There should be an identified person within the organisation who has overall responsibility for EBP, who is responsible for a strategy of growth and development of EBP’: 87% agree

research in practice Delphi survey

whose responsibility4
Whose responsibility?

Our experience

There are limits to what (even very committed) teams and individuals can achieve alone. They need:

  • leaders who embed the use of research in the organisation’s culture and bloodstream
  • processes that reinforce these expectations
  • enabling facilities and opportunities
echoes in other people s findings
Echoes in other people’s findings

‘The role of leadership and senior management was noted to be crucial in demonstrating the value of research as a source for new ideas, in accessing and making use of research, in encouraging research by practitioners and in active collaboration with research producers.’

Barnardo’s (2000)

our collaborative enquiry
Our collaborative enquiry

What do organisations need to do to promote

awareness and use of research?

  • what needs to be in place to facilitate this?
  • what constrains progress?
  • which strategies and approaches ‘work’?
  • what materials help?
five firm foundations
Five ‘firm foundations’
  • actions that need to be taken on an agency-wide basis
  • about creating a conducive climate, culture or environment
  • things beyond the capacity or capability of individual practitioners and teams to take-on
1 giving a strategic lead
1. Giving a strategic lead

What we mean

  • nominated senior leader
  • steering group
  • a vision of what EIP means
  • a strategic plan about how to get there
  • based on strategic planning approaches
  • monitoring and review processes
1 giving a strategic lead1
1. Giving a strategic lead

Help and ideas

  • separate Action Pack / CD on leading EIP
  • steering group exercises
  • tools to help develop a vision
  • a suggested outline for a strategy and some real examples
  • strategic planning tools
  • an audit
  • some change management theory
  • suggestions about ways of tracking changes in research awareness and use
2 setting expectations
2. Setting expectations

What we mean

  • ‘translating’ the vision and strategy into clear expectations of staff
  • using staff recruitment and development processes to support these expectations
  • embedding the use of evidence into working practices
  • managers modelling and setting an example
2 setting expectations1
2. Setting expectations

Help and ideas

  • real examples of job descriptions and selection tests
  • materials for use in staff induction
  • supervision proformas
  • standards for training events
  • suggestions for case file audits
  • ideas about what managers can do to model EIP
3 encouraging learning from research
3. Encouraging learning from research

What we mean

  • a ‘learning culture’
  • protected time
  • help for staff to keep themselves up-to-date
  • support for teams as powerful places for learning
  • lateral structures
  • being outward-looking
3 encouraging learning from research1
3. Encouraging learning from research

Help and ideas

  • some theory about learning organisations
  • ideas about shaping the right culture
  • practical suggestions about protecting time
  • examples of in-house research-based events
  • separate handbook / video CD on supporting teams
  • filmed case studies about developing links with local universities
4 improving access to research
4. Improving access to research

What we mean

  • library facilities
  • subscriptions to journals
  • internet access
  • investment in developing skills
  • ‘scanning’ function
  • effective dissemination
4 improving access to research1
4. Improving access to research

Help and ideas

  • suggestions about how to establish library facilities
  • key basics that should go into local (workbase) resource libraries
  • guidance on key journals
  • recommended websites
  • examples of in-house bulletins
  • examples of laminated ‘practice messages from research’ cards
  • guidance on dissemination and an exercise to check-out its effectiveness
5 supporting local research
5. Supporting local research

What we mean

  • enabling service evaluation
  • promoting user feedback
  • creating a focus on outcomes
  • programme of research
  • share local results
5 supporting local research1
5. Supporting local research

Help and ideas

  • separate handbook on single service evaluation
  • links to good practice guides on participation
  • links to outcome measurement tools
  • examples of Research Governance Frameworks and approaches
our practical handbook
Our practical handbook
  • Guidance
  • Ideas and advice
  • Tools / exercises
  • Video CD
  • Links to real examples and ‘dig deeper’ resources
  • EIP is a shared responsibility to deliver
  • organisational support is crucial – but it must be more than words
  • six years worth of learning about ‘what works’
  • sought to showcase innovative ideas
  • practical product is testament to the value of a network to share learning