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Birmingham at the Heart of a New Evidence-Based Adult Social Care Centre

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The University of Birmingham has been announced as the lead partner of a brand-new centre for adult social care, which will aim to put evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and well-being.

The new centre called IMPACT (Improving Adult Care Together) has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Health Foundation, and will be the first centre of its kind in the UK.

The centre will:

  • Lead the way in helping people working in adult social care, carers, and the people they support to make better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence to support innovation in adult social care
  • Build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce
  • Help develop sustainable and productive relationships between all of those working across adult social care
  • Improve our understanding of what helps or hinders when putting evidence into practice

The centre will receive funding of £15 million over the next six years, with equal contributions from ESRC and the Health Foundation.  

The joint venture between ESRC and the Health Foundation means the two organisations can pool their expertise and experience in supporting the University of Birmingham and partners to help lead innovation and the spread of successful ideas to support the improvement of care beyond traditional boundaries. 

Jon Glasby, professor of health and social care at the University of Birmingham who has been appointed as IMPACT’s director and will be working with a range of partners from across the UK to lead the co-development, establishment, and delivery of the centre, said: Adult social care touches people’s lives in such important and intimate ways, and it’s crucial that it’s based on the best possible evidence of what works.

‘Good care isn’t just about services, it’s about having a life – and the ESRC and the Health Foundation are providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference.’

ESRC executive chair, Professor Alison Park, said: ‘The complex nature of the social care system means that frontline practice does not always benefit sufficiently from the evidence we already have about what works.

‘The increased implementation of evidence-based innovations and improvements in adult social care is crucial to ensuring better outcomes for the many people who use these services, and their carers and families. Finding a way to make this happen is challenging – but the prize, in terms of improvements to adult social care, makes it essential.’

Will Warburton, director of improvement, the Health Foundation, said: ‘The fragmented nature of the adult social care sector poses real challenges for ensuring the consistent provision of evidence-based, high-quality care and support.

‘The IMPACT centre will work alongside people with experience of care, carers, commissioners, and providers to develop practical support that will increase the use of high-quality research evidence in the adult social care sector across the UK.’

Recognising the combined value of good practice and robust evidence from different sources, the centre will bring together people with lived experience of social care, those providing unpaid care, people working in adult social care, experts in the mobilisation and implementation of evidence, social care providers, commissioners and policy experts, and academic teams from across the UK.

Together with stakeholders in adult social care and beyond, the IMPACT team will agree on priorities and design, establish, deliver, and evaluate the centre’s work programme, aiming to lead to sustainable change in the use of evidence in adult social care.

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