We are an independent network of individuals who provide a range of research information, planning and evaluation in social care and health services. SSRG members are drawn from a wide range of professional groups and organisations sharing a common interest in the work of the caring services..


Research, Policy and Planning

Vol 33(3) of RPP is now online! (06/07/2020)

Sadly, this is the final issue of the journal Research, Policy and Planning (RPP) and it marks the end of an of an academic journal which for nearly four decades has bridged the community of academia and social services researchers. As the journal of the UK’s Social Services Research Group, (SSRG), published from 1983, it has reflected the long term decline in the numbers of people employed to carry out and report on social services research and analyse policy, especially in local authorities. This final issue, divided into two parts, has five articles commissioned from earlier contributors and two book reviews; and it takes a retrospective and prospective look at social services.


Vol 33(2) of RPP is available online (4 September 2019)

This second edition of Volume 33 of RPP features an insightful exploration of the origins of (adult) social care in England, its indeterminate nature with shifting meanings in official descriptions – closely allied by the absence of legal definition, and the implications for practitioners and managers of service delivery operationalising policies.

A thought-provoking study on the link between childhood obesity and deprivation among primary school children in Birmingham is also presented; the authors’ longitudinal analysis indicating childhood obesity inequalities are widening with a call for wide-scale multidisciplinary, practical, holistic preventive public health measures to alleviate the problem.

Read too a critical analysis of the vision for introduction of Personal Health Budgets in the NHS, based on evaluation of key policy documents along with semi-structured interviews conducted with experts from NHS England/ Clinical Commissioning Groups, and challenges to ‘received wisdoms’ about the benefits of PHBs.

The new edition also offers some lively reviews of social work and social care literature, reflecting the range of research and especially policy issues to be found in the social care debating chamber.


RPP Vol 33(1) is now published in open access (14 February 2018).

The new edition features an insightful article from authors who offer an analysis of findings from a series of ‘community of practice’ meetings which brought together academics, social work and housing practitioners to explore opportunities – in the light of changes to statutory duties under the Care Act 2014 – to provide better services for people described as experiencing ‘multiple morbidities’ (homelessness, mental and physical ill-health, and drug or alcohol misuse). A powerful evaluation of the perceived failure of the National Eligibility Criteria for adult social care is also presented, plus an eloquent critique of funding, workforce, consumerism and market sustainability ‘fragilities’ leading to instability of the English social care market and an agenda for change.

Book reviews cover two very different aspects of social services; a salute to the professional testimony of Sharon Shoesmith about her experience in the eye of the media and political storm surrounding the homicide of ‘Baby P’, in addition to a look at a wide range of innovatory research methods in social work – or perhaps understood as innovatory for social work.

The latest edition of Research, Policy and Planning – Vol 32(3) – is available online and is OPEN ACCESS (18 August 2017).

What’s inside this edition?

RPP 32(3) features an evaluation of the impact on values and attitudes of students of a social work curricula module relating to substance misuse and working with substance misusers; a paper conceptualising an alternative ‘blueprint’ approach to assessment/support planning and methods of resource allocation in adult social care departments; a report of the application of reciprocal role valorisation (RRV) to Family Group Conferences in New Brunswick, Canada; in addition to the findings of a participatory qualitative research study focusing on the role unpaid carers play in the recovery of people with mental ill-health.

Read also a review of a significant book by a prominent campaigning figure, Peter Beresford, who is himself a valued contributor to RPP, most recently on personalization.


SSRG-LARIA Merger – Ballot Result!

There was overwhelming support for the merger in the ballot: 33 voted for and one against, which meant a majority of members were in favour.

This means the merger will now go ahead for the 1st July. Click here for the detailed merger agreement


All SSRG memberships will be due for renewal at the point of the merger, as we charged a pro-rata fee for all renewals over the last year or so, which covered membership until this point. During July and August, you will all receive an invitation to renew as a LARIA member. There are currently two options for this:

  1. Renew as a full individual member, which will cost £10
  2. You may want to encourage your employer or organisation to take out corporate membership of LARIA, which gives membership benefits for all employees and costs £80 (some of your employers may already be corporate members).

I do urge you to renew your membership and consider taking part in the new SSRG interest group, which will monitor the ongoing SSRG activities and plan further projects and events.

We in the Executive Committee are very positive about the new arrangement, which will secure SSRG activities and enable us to work across a broader set of topics

Please do contact me if you have any questions about the merger or any ideas for future activities

Martin Stevens – Chair SSRG –martin.stevens@kcl.ac.uk

Updated 26/06/2017 Martin Stevens

Research, Policy and Planning

The new edition of Research, Policy and Planning – Vol 32(2) – is now online     (15 January 2017).  Not a member?  Click here to join.

LARIA Annual Conference 2017: Call for speakers and papers 

‘Hibernate or Innovate? Research and Intelligence in Challenging Times’

The next LARIA Annual Conference will be held on Tuesday, 23 and Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at Sheffield City Hall. Please save the date now.

We are looking for papers that describe how making changes in the way we fund, organise or execute research, teams, systems or data analysis has resulted in better intelligence and decision making.  We are interested in a broad range of papers but have suggested a few themes to stimulate thinking, for full details please download the call for papers document.

To submit ideas to present then please complete the call for papers form and return to admin@laria.org.uk by no later than Friday, 4 November 2016.

Research, Policy and Planning

Research, Policy and Planning – Vol 32(1) – is now published  and is OPEN ACCESS

This special edition,  on child neglect provides a unique insight into what is meant by neglect, its effects on children and young people’s development, behaviour and outcomes across a range of areas including education, employment, housing, crime and health. We hope this serves as a valuable source of evidence and guidance in children’s services across the UK to aid practitioners, service managers and policy-makers seeking clarity on how to address neglect.

Please take part on our survey – Supporting Research, Intelligence and Policy in the Public Sector

Please take part our new survey being carried out with the Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA).The results will help understand the support needed by research, intelligence and policy professionals in the public sector – in particular, the role of professional bodies such as LARIA and the SSRG. This survey will also inform a proposed merger between the two organisations.

Please follow this link to take part.

SSRG – LARIA events

Book Now: LARIA One Day Conference 24 Nov 2016, Manchester

Conference Crowd 2014

Bookings now for the One Day Conference on Thursday 24 Nov 2016 in Manchester.

See the agenda and book your place now by visiting our conference website.

The conference will be a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions; speakers include:

  • Esther Roughsedge & Victoria Avila, National Records of Scotland
  • Robert Radburn, Leicestershire County Council
  • Suzanne Hall and Rachael Docking, Ipsos MORI
  • Dr James Beard, Mott MacDonald


A Pilot is a Pilot? Researchers and the Children and Social Work Bill

Professor Jane Tunstill explores potential dangers and implications of the proposals in the Children and Social Work Bill

Executive Committee nominations

Please consider standing or encouraging fellow SSRG members to stand for election to the SSRG Executive Committee. This is a chance to influence the agenda and help ensure an active future for SSRG. Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting, which takes place during the Annual Workshop. Please use this nomination form. Please note, all nominations must be completed by and nominate SSRG members only. 

Home page updated 17/10/2016 Martin Stevens


Research, Policy and Planning

The latest edition of the Research, Policy and Planning Journal – Vol 31(3) – has now been released. Not a member?  Click here to join.

Updated 16/03/2016

Health Research Authority: appointments to the Confidentiality Advisory Group

The Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) is looking to appoint new members to help it deliver its existing and future functions. The CAG provides the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Secretary of State for Health (SofS) with independent expert advice about applications for access to confidential patient information. The work of the Group is challenging, but it is also immensely rewarding. The information pack contains full details on the role, how to apply, the application form and equality monitoring. Click here for further details

Research capacity, knowledge, skills and use in Councils with Adult Social Care Responsibilities – SSRG Survey published

This survey was funded by the PSSRU – through the Social Care Evidence in Practice project

Press release available here

Full report available here

Research, Policy and Planning

The Social Care Evidence in Practice (SCEiP) project special issue of Research, Policy and Planning – Vol 31(2) – is now published by way of open access.

Page updated 17/09/2015

The new edition of Research, Policy and Planning, Vol 31(1), is now available.  Not a member?  Click here to join.

Coming soon is the second edition of this volume of the journal, sponsored by the Social Care Evidence in Practice (SCEiP) project led by the PSSRU – London School of Economics and Political Science, with support from the NIHR School for Social Care Research and funding from LSE’s Higher Educational Innovation Fund. Check this page for open accessibility to the themed articles featured within Research, Policy and Planning Vol 31(2).

Page updated 19/07/2015

Other news

LTCQ project

The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the University of Kent would like to invite LA staff to participate in a project that is currently validating a newly-developed Long-Term Conditions Questionnaire (LTCQ). This 20-item self-report questionnaire measures outcomes across different long-term conditions (LTCs). The project involves both a primary care survey and a social care survey. PSSRU are leading on the social care survey with the aim to validate the LTCQ in a sample of people with LTCs who receive social care services. The research team will reimburse all postage costs and will provide some financial support to help with the recruitment of people who receive social care services. Click here for more information about the social care survey or contact Laurie Batchelder: 01227 816 166 or L.Batchelder@kent.ac.uk



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