SSRG Previous Events – 2006

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Improving Practice through Practitioner Research

Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2JL

This event – FREE to SSRG members – will be of interest to practitioners, managers and planners across social and heath care services for children AND for adults. Delegates will hear of a practitioner research programme run by Children 1 st working with Glasgow University . Research topics so far have included:

  • what factors motivate drug using parentsto change lifestyle,
  • key impacts of abuse recovery work withchildren and their families,
  • impact of child protection training onsports’ coaches

Delegates will also hear of work that is being carried out in Barnsley to promote excellence and quality in research through a simple but effective ‘Guide to Research Governance’ for practitioners. Relevant documentation that is being used for guiding and assessing research applications will be available on the day.


Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2JL

Developments In Performance Assessment

FRIDAY 10th NOVEMBER   (From 10.00am until approx 4.00pm)
Banqueting Suite, The Council House, Victoria Square in Birmingham, (about 10 minutes walk from New Street Station).

The aim of the day is to explore developments in the performance assessment process and related issues for services to adults/older people – we should know more about the contents of the DCLG White Paper (or what it ‘might’ say) by then and its implications for performance assessment. There will be a range of plenary sessions where each agency  – DCLG; LGA and DH/CSCI – will be invited to share current thinking and to respond to questions from participants. CSCI will also elaborate upon ideas for descriptors and PIs to populate the assessment framework Speakers confirmed are:

Hilary Morse – Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
Tim Hind – Local Government Association (LGA)
Lynda Fean – Department of Health (DH)
Alan Rosenabach – Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)
David Burnham – Lancashire County Council/Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS)

We are currently negotiating with the Audit Commission and hope that they will identify a speaker.

Fees: £75 for SSRG members;  and £135 for others, and include lunch, refreshments and documerntation.

The programme and other information will emailed to you. It will also be posted to this website


Venue is the Banqueting Suite, the Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB

Please click here for the pdf map (497kbPDF) which among other things gives directions from Birmingham New Street Station (about 10 minutes walk) and shows local car parks etc. Colleagues are advised to travel by public transport.

For train times, please visit:

From the platform at Birmingham New Street Station, follow the exit signs to ‘Victoria Square’  When you pass through the barriers at the top of the stairs, cross the road and head up the hill. The Coucil House is straight in front of you.beyond the fountain If you find yourself in the main concourse of the station (by WH Smith etc), you can exit via the escalator and turn left. Continue past Woolworths and down then ramp past McDonalds toward HSBC. Bear left at HSBC and continue along the pedestrianised area (past Waterstones on your left). After a couple of minutes you will see a fountain and steps. The Council House is the imposng building beyond the fountain. For further information please contact David Henderson

A Sure Start to Later Life

The Brighton Centre

Enhancing Social inclusion for older People – A part of the Celebrating Age Festival

Click here to download programme/booking form (240kb pdf).


Outcomes in Social Care for Adults – 10 years on

Gilbert Murray Conference Centre,  University of Leicester
from 9 a.m. to 4.15 p.m

Click here for details and to download the programme and presentations

Supporting  research on racism and ethnicity: Follow up meeting to the ‘Inclusion and Exclusion’ Conferences 2004 and 2005′

SCIE offices from 11.30 a.m to 3.30 p.m

Click here to download further information (Word doc) and booking form (Word doc).


Children – Joint LARIA/LGA/LEARG/SSRG Seminars
Wednesday 17 May 2006: Local Government Association Offices, London.
Tuesday 13 June 2006: Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Crewe.

Click here to download the programme and booking form (PDF file).

SSRG Scotland: Improving Services for Children: Developments in Inspection and Performance Indicators

Old Viewforth, Stirling
Monday 13 June 2005

The aim of this event was to address a range of contemporary policy and practice issues that have emerged from recent legislation and initiatives such as ‘Changing Lives’ and how agencies are tackling these.

For more information see Stirling 2006 page .

SSRG Annual Workshop: New directions in social care: Meeting the challenge of change

St Catherine’s College, Oxford University
27-29th March 2006

The Annual Workshop is the main event on the SSRG calendar.  The 2006 event will provide examples of how agencies are working together with users of services in order to ‘meet the challenge of change’.

It will address issues emerging from recent government legislation and initiatives, and how policy is being translated into practice.

Key themes include:

  • user/carer participation
  • working in partnership (across social care; health; education; the voluntary and community sector and academia)
  • ways that services are being evaluated
  • evidence informed practice

We are pleased to announce that the SCIE incoming Chair, Alan Bowman, will be presenting on the morning of Tuesday 28th March.

We also understand that the SSRG Annual Workshop will be the first engagement for Naomi Eisenstadt
in her new role of Secretary of State’s Chief Adviser on Children’s Services.

Other plenary speakers include: Dame Denise Platt, Chair CSCI Richard Humphries, Chief Executive, Care Services Improvement Partnership Andrew Cozens, Improvement and Development Agency Celia Atherton, Director, Research in Practice, Martyn Hammersley, Open University John Bolton, Director of Community Services, Coventry.

This event is intended for a wide audience, including managers, researchers, planning and evaluation staff and practitioners in:

  • Local government
  • Health bodies
  • The voluntary sector
  • Universities and colleges

As usual with SSRG events, sessions are intended to stimulate discussion and encourage networking.

The Annual Workshop once again represents outstanding value. SSRG members can attend for the 3 days – inclusive of ensuite B&B accommodation & meals – for around £350*.

* daily attendance rates are also available from around £110 ­ rates for non­members to be advised in early December.

The Venue

St Catherine’s College comes highly recommended – colleagues from the Local Authority Research and Intelligence Association (Laria) staged their three day event at St Catherine’s two years ago. They were greatly impressed with the quality of the meeting rooms and the spacious accommodation.

All meals are waiter-served. So, in selecting St Catherine’s, SSRG is responding to comments that were made by some delegates who attended the 2005 Annual Workshop for improvements in these areas

St. Catherine’s was founded in 1962, and while taking much from the best traditions of Oxford it succeeds in having a much less formal and more relaxed and friendly atmosphere than many other colleges. Designed by the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, it is one of the few post­war buildings in the country to be given grade 1 listed status.

For further information, see:


Oxford is well known throughout the world for its 800 year old university. More than five million tourists flock to the city every year to visit the colleges and to gaze at the beautiful honey gold buildings and the famous domes and spires that tower above them.

Visitors to the city can enjoy an enormous selection of bars and restaurants, a traditional covered market, gift and antique shops as well as some of the finest bookshops in the world. Many of the pubs are centuries old and were once frequented by famous writers, such as Thomas Hardy, C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien. You may even bump into some famous contemporary writers like Colin Dexter, the creator of Inspector Morse, both of whom are fond of Oxford’s traditional ale houses.

Music lovers and theatre goers are particularly well catered for in Oxford . There are five theatres and several classical music venues, not to mention the many college chapels and cloister gardens which host frequent performances.

For further information, see: www.oxford­

The 2006 SSRG Annual Workshop is supported by:


Day 1 – Monday 27 th March 2006

Adult Social Care – An Improving Picture?

Richard Humphries Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP), DoH, and Andrew Cozens, Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)

This joint session will explore the challenges of delivering the White Paper, Your Health, Your Care, Your Say, from two social care perspectives. Richard Humphries will describe the challenge of delivering an integrated approach across health and social care from a policy perspective, including the political imperatives. Andrew Cozens will explore the leadership issues for directors, managers, lead members and practitioners of developing better outcomes for individuals and communities.

Download: Presentation (278kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (1000kb Powerpoint)

Improving Services for Children: Does Evidence Inform Policy?

Naomi Eisenstadt, Secretary of State’s Chief Adviser on Children’s Services

Using research to inform policy and practice in the early years services This talk will describe the development of early years policy since the Comprehensive Spending Review of 1998, that resulted in the initial establishment of Sure Start.  It will explain how the policy has evolved and changed based largely on evidence from the Effective Provision of Preschool Education research and the National Evaluation of Sure Start, as well as other international evidence.

Download: Presentation (312kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (179kb Powerpoint)

Are we there yet? Identifying the Characteristics of Social Care Organisations that Successfully Promote ‘Diversity’

Jabeer Butt, Deputy Director, REU

How comfortable Britain is with ‘diversity’ is being debated once again. In this context, this workshop will draw on a paper written for Social Care Institute for Excellence to explore the implementation of ‘diversity’ in social care.

We will examine what is meant by ‘diversity’, before looking at what existing evidence tells us about the barriers faced by social care organisations in achieving diversity. The workshop will then attempt to identify what policies, practices and structures need to be in place to promote diversity. The workshop will conclude with a discussion on whether there are any social care organisations that can be said to be successfully promoting diversity. The format of the workshop will be a presentation followed by a discussion.

Department of Health Policy on Performance and Outcomes

Lynda Fean, Department of Health

Awaiting details

Download: Presentation (1010kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (217kb Powerpoint)

Social Care Populations and Inter-Agency Shared Care Populations

Jan Keene, University of Reading

Social Work clients shared with other agencies There are very few large population studies and little information about the characteristics of social services populations and the inter-agency populations that social services departments share with other agencies. This study fills this gap. It examines a total social services adult care population, excluding residential care homes ( N = 19,461) in the context of its general co-terminous health authority population ( N = 646,239).

Approximately two-thirds (61 per cent) of the social services population were women, compared to the health authority population of 51 per cent. Sixty-two per cent were over sixty-five years compared to 23 per cent of the health authority. Age groupings and gendered patterns of service use are then identified for different care groups. The study then examines care populations shared between social services and other agencies, identifying the amount of shared care and the characteristics of specific shared care subgroups. Forty-two per cent of the social services population were shared with the community health trust and 19 per cent with the mental health trust.

The proportion of the social services population in contact with Criminal Justice and accident and emergency was nearly twice that in the overall health authority population. The limitations of these data are examined and the potential of this method to inform inter-agency planning and shared care is discussed.

Download: Handout (135kb PDF)

Download: Handout (151kb MS Word)

DfES Knowledge for Improvement

Jim Magee and Ruth Talbot Knowledge for Improvement project team

The knowledge for improvement project is based in the Every Child Matters, Change for Children programme in the DfES. The project was established to make more effective use of knowledge about local delivery of the ECM:CfC programme to drive improvement in policy making and create a more consistent performance management system that meets the needs of local authorities, inspectorates and central government.

The presentation will outlines the two main strands of the project, Knowledge needs and Knowledge management. The focus of the workshop will be on the Knowledge needs workstrand. We will be discussing the work that the project has done to develop a set of descriptors to clarify the aims and highlight their most important aspects, and to use the descriptors to develop a more complete set of population indicators that help to quantify the improvement in outcomes for children and young people. These indicators should be outcome-focused, available at national and local level and based on current indicators where possible.

The workshop will aim to discuss:

  1. what the project has achieved to date – descriptors and proposed population indicators;
  2. how to achieve a set of measures which balances outcome-focused population indicators (the ‘what’ of performance) and service-level performance indicators (the ‘why’)
  3. what other data LAs need to manage services

Download: Presentation (84kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (1000kb Powerpoint)

Put the People who use Social Care First

Dame Denise Platt, Chair, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)

Dame Denise Platt will talk about what people who use social care want from their services and how good social care can transform people’s lives.

She will discuss the Commission for Social Care Inspection’s own approach to involving people who use services in assessing service quality. Dame Denise will issue a challenge to councils to listen more carefully to people and to take their views into account when planning new services or improving existing ones. Councils will have to find ways to include those people who find it hard to participate, who have profound and complex needs. Using information from the Commission’s report to Parliament, ‘The state of social care in England 2004-05’, Dame Denise will say that councils need to improve their commissioning strategies and take seriously their responsibility to ensure that there is a sufficiency of supply for the whole community they serve – not just for those whose care they expect to fund, but also for those who pay for their own care.

Download: Presentation (452kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (312kb Powerpoint)

Details of presentations:

Day 2 – Monday 28th March 2006

Firm Foundations: More than words- What must Organisations do to Support Evidence-Informed Practice?

Celia Atherton and Rhiannon Hodson

Whose responsibility is it to make sure that services for vulnerable children and their families are properly informed by research evidence? Should we place all our expectations on the front-line worker – to behave professionally and take personal responsibility? Research evidence over many years, and research in practice’s experience over the last decade suggests not. Rather, it is only if organisations provide support to improve access to research evidence and to encourage its use that individual practitioners can make lasting and effective changes to their practice.

This plenary session will discuss what agencies need to do to provide the best infrastructure an climate for evidence-informed practice to thrive. The speakers will launch a practical handbook (FIRM FOUNDATIONS )that brings together the results of six years of collaborative work on this topic. Delegates will be introduced to the 5 key foundations that organisations need to put in place, view a short film made with one of research in practice’spartner agencies and have the opportunity to see the practical tools and ideas designed to help embed evidence-informed practice into the lifeblood of an organisation.

Download: Presentation (1200kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (446kb Powerpoint)

Involving Service Users in Inspection

Sue Balloch, University of Brighton, and Frances Hasler, CSCI

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) is increasingly involving ‘experts by experience’ in the inspection process. Nine regional projects, aimed at enabling the direct voice of people who use services to be heard more clearly in inspection, were set up in 2006 and are being evaluated. In this presentation, Frances Hasler will discuss the principles involved in this modernisation programme and Sue Balloch and Marylynn Fyvie-Gauld will assess some of the findings from the evaluation.

Download: Presentation (312kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (158kb Powerpoint)

Involving Young Service Users as co-researchers in Evaluating Service Provision: Perils, Potential and Limitations?’

Hugh McLaughlin, University of Salford

This paper seeks to stimulate debate and critical reflection on the use of young service users as co-researchers. This paper will be a ‘warts and all’ presentation highlighting from my own research some of the practical, ethical and unforeseen problems. The paper will then highlight the potential of young people as co-researchers providing real life examples of how this approach has worked in practice and identifying preconditions for successful implementation.

The paper will then invite the audience to consider whether there are limits to service user research, if so what are they and how we can help avoid service user research becoming a panacea or pretence.

Download: Presentation (312kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (530kb Powerpoint)

Researching the Relationships between Social Work and Primary Care

Steve Iliffe, University College , London

The different work cultures and work forces of social care and general practice have been studied in depth in the past, but has the relationship between them altered as each discipline has evolved? Do both cultures have an interest in person-centred services, and could this foster closer collaboration? Drawing on findings from the OSCA programme, and from work in progress in Smarter Working in Social & Health care (SWISH), this workshop will discuss a number of themes, including

  1. the different understandings of joint workingin social work and general practice.
  2. The desirability of the co-location of socialand health care, the threats that it poses and the lack of evidence that it brings benefits to clients.
  3. The conflict resolution strategies thatare widely deployed in joint working.

The workshop may generate ideas about a research and development agenda for collaborative working between general practice and social work.

The New Social Care Research Register – What it is and how it works

Diane Gwynne-Smith SCIE

Awaiting details

What Counts for Evidence in Evidence Based Practice?

Martyn Hammersley, Open University

The concept of evidence-based practice raises some interesting and difficult questions: about what should count as evidence, about what its sources are, and about how it should relate to practice. In this talk I will address these questions, assessing the implications of the current popularity of this concept, both for research and for policymaking and professional work.

Download: Presentation (18kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (91kb Powerpoint)

Download: Handout (32kb PDF)

Download: handout (29kb MS Word)

Computer Assisted Self Interviewing (CASI) with Vulnerable Children: from Consultation to Participation

Murray Davis, Viewpoint Organisation and Alun Morgan, Open University

This workshop presents an overview of the use of computer assisted self interviewing (CASI), for involving service users more directly in the delivery and development of services. CASI has proved to be a valuable method for consulting people about sensitive subjects. The computer-questionnaire interface and the absence of an interviewer, seems to generate a sense of neutrality, enabling things that are difficult to say to be said more safely, and acted upon more accurately.

The workshop will present a case-study of Viewpoint Interactive , a CASI software application used in about a third of local authorities in England and Wales , in children’s services and in education. The presenters will initiate a discussion about the opportunities for using CASI as a way of promoting participation, a more inclusive development from consultation alone.

Download: Presentation (312kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (1040kb Powerpoint)

An Untapped Potential? Building Research Capacity in Social Care

Jo Cooke University of Sheffield

Download: Presentation (547kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (235kb Powerpoint)

What is the Role of Professional Ethics in Research and Practice?”

Ian Johnston, Director, BASW

Awaiting details

Download: Presentation (312kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (77kb Powerpoint)

Researching the Impact of Reform on Service Users

Janet Newman Open University

This workshop will explore some of the ways in which researchers are trying to explore the experience of those using social care services as service users or consumers. It will draw on work taking place in the current DoH funded programme of research on Modernising Adult Social Care, and on a recently completed research project ‘Creating citizen consumers: changing relationships and identifications’ conducted in the Social Policy Department at the Open University. The workshop will also highlight the opportunities – and challenges – of involving service users as researchers.”

The Many and the Few

Julie Jones, President ADSS and Bob Garnett, President, Confed

We will discuss key issues arising from the “change for children” agenda, considering how to target the needy and vulnerable whilst ensuring the continued wellbeing and achievement of the rest.

Debate: “Anti Poverty Strategies are an Essential Part of Social Work Training”

Jennifer Bernard, Consultant Director of Care, Health and Community, City and Guilds and Kate Green, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Referee: Paul Waddington

Further details to be announced

Details of presentations: Day

3 Wednesday 29th March 2006

John Bolton – Director of Community Services – Coventry

John has chosen the SSRG Conference to launch a piece of thinking that he has been doing on demonstrating value for money based on outcomes (or “service shape” as he prefers to call this) NOT unit costs. John spent 3 years in the Audit Commission following their perceived wisdom about the importance of unit costs. This is further developed by the new “Gershon Efficiencies”. John has undertaken this work with support from the Treasury, which is developing another way to look at costs. This conference he will test he ideas on an “intelligent audience”.

Download: Presentation (487kb PDF)

Download: Presentation (596kb Powerpoint)

Developing Joint Approaches to the Assessment of Social Care and Health Services

Bernadette Oxley, CSCI , and Carolyn Parkinson Health Care Commission

Awaiting details

The Adult Information Project- Progress and Developments

Roger Staton ASCID, HCISC

Awaiting details

Satisfaction and Quality in Home Care

Ann Netten, Karen Jones and Sima Sandhu, PSSRU, University of Kent

Monitoring and improving standards of home care has been emphasised in a number of government policies, many which stress the importance of learning from the perspective of the service user. Judgements of quality can be influenced by a complex relationship between individual, provider, area and economic factors. The presentation will draw on findings from three studies that explored the underlying dimensions of home care quality and the causes of variations in perceptions of quality.

Study 1 In 2003 the government required all councils with social services responsibilities to conduct a survey of older users of home care services including four compulsory questions as performance indicators. An extension to this survey with 34 authorities investigated the validity of the performance indicators as a measure of quality and derived overall, service, care worker and outcome quality indicators. Initial investigations identified associations between these quality indicators and service user, provider and area characteristics.

Study 2 The second study investigated the relationship between service user characteristics and their experiences of services. A case study was carried out in one authority that participated in the extension user experience survey in 2003.

Additional data about service users was sought from commissioning databases and client case records. Judgements of service satisfaction were not influenced by demographic characteristics alone, but by a complex interaction between individual characteristics, situational factors, dependency characteristics and structure of the care package.

Study 3 The third study investigated the relationship between provider characteristics and user experiences of services. A key trend in home care in recent years in England has been the move towards commissioning care from independent providers. However study 1 found lower levels of satisfaction and poorer quality to be associated with receiving home care from the independent sector. Multivariate analyses suggested that it was the nature of the workforce itself, in terms of age and experience that was the most critical influence on service user experience of service quality.

All three studies were undertaken as part of PSSRU’s ongoing Department of Health funded programme of research into the Costs Quality and Outcomes of social care, key aspects of social and health care provision. The programme is led by Ann Netten, with Karen Jones and Sima Sandhu employed as Research Officers.

Better and Better? Just what has been achieved with the Performance Assessment Framework?

David Burnham, Lancashire Social Services

The impact of the PAF from its introduction in 1998 till now. I will look at the impact on the several constituencies affected by it – the government, social services authorities (children and adults), front line staff, service users, the general public, social work students. I will also look at the various implications for the future based on what CSCI, Ofsted, HCC, DfES and DH have said about the future for performance measurement for social care.

The Impact of Audit on Social Work Practice

Eileen Munro, London School of Economics

While few would dispute the need to ensure value for money in a public service, the way in which performance is measured and rewarded shapes the service provided to users. Social work poses particular challenges for an auditor because it has, traditionally, operated in an individual, humanistic way with a very limited development of a shared language and classification system for talking about practice. It also had a poor record of evaluative work to measure its own effectiveness. Therefore, the process of developing an audit system has been a welcome development in offering not only the opportunity for measuring efficiency but also for measuring effectiveness. It has, however, been an immense task because of the underdeveloped state of the knowledge base of social work. The resulting system is still at a crude level, with a predominant focus on the easily measurable. This affects the aspects of practice that get monitored- at the cost of the more complex, relationship, aspects of the work – and the results of the work that get measured – with an emphasis on outputs rather than outcomes. This workshop discusses possible ways of improving the audit system and ensuring that the value and skill base of social work and the impact on children’s well-being can both get the attention they merit in an audit system.

Developing Joint Approaches to the Assessment of Social Care and Education Services

Chris Batty CSCI, and Jill Munday Ofsted

The presentation will cover the development of the Integrated Inspection Framework with particularemphasis on two major features – the Annual Performance Assessment (APA) of council services for children and the Joint Area Review (JAR) of all children’s services within a council area. Since the process has started in 2005 all 150 councils have had an APA and the inspectorates will have completed or be in the process of completing JARs in 32 council areas. The aims and methodologies will be outlined along with the interconnection and differences between the two forms of assessment and inspection and initial feedback and evaluation on their effectiveness.

Developing Local Performance Measures: Problems and Prospects

David Challis and Paul Clarkson PSSRU University of Manchester

There are currently a host of performance measures in social care at a national level designed to promote accountability, inform the public and service users about the conduct of services and to judge performance through comparative analysis supporting government regulation. In social care, however, where local issues around service delivery assume prominence, what is needed is a set of valid and reliable measures that can assist local authorities and other bodies to manage their performance successfully through the use of routine data. There are many problems in seeking to do this, one of these being the time currently taken up with authorities’ reporting of national performance indicators.

This workshop highlights these issues by describing recent PSSRU work on the development and implementation of local performance indicators in the social care of older people. Issues for discussion will include: the problems with the recent use of national measures and what these have meant for local work; how best to devise local measures of performance in social care and how to use them; and what benefits can result from the use of local performance indicators.

The Commissioning eBook: A Good Practice Guide

Fiona Richardson, Institute of Public Care

Awaiting Details

A Joint Area Review Case Study

Jill Munday Ofsted, and Someone From a Local Authority

Awaiting details

Performance Measurement through User-Defined Outcomes’

Alison Petch, Research in Practice for Adults

Awaiting details