Supported by £15m in funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Health Foundation, IMPACT is a UK centre for implementing knowledge and evidence in adult social care. The aim is to take evidence of what works in practice (including research) to enable practical improvements on the ground and make a difference to care services and people’s lives.
IMPACT Director, Jon Glasby, “We believe that good care isn’t just about ‘services’ – but about having a life. We also believe passionately that ‘evidence’ should include insights from different types of research, from the lived experience of people who draw on care and support or who are unpaid carers, and on the practical knowledge of social care staff.”
Leading European knowledge centre
As the leading European knowledge centre for care and support, Vilans was chosen as a key starting point when Glasby and his colleagues were developing their approach to setting up IMPACT. He adds, “Our relationship with Vilans helped us to develop and test our thinking. Now that we’re more established, we’d love the chance to share what we’ve learned so that we’re giving as well as receiving.”
To broaden the thought process and stay open to new ideas, IMPACT set up a ‘Critical Friends’ advisory group to draw on knowledge and experience from various other sectors within the UK (for example, the health service, services for homeless people and services for children) and from other countries.
For the Netherlands, IMPACT turned to Vilans CEO, Mirella Minkman for her expertise on organising person-oriented integrated care between people and organisations in networks and (chain) alliances, as well as other governance structures and the large-scale implementation work of Vilans.
Other countries in the Critical Friends group include Sweden, the US and Australia. In the long-term, IMPACT hopes to build a network of evidence/implementation centres in different countries all providing practical and peer support to each other.
Each IMPACT project has an evaluation component built into it to understand more about what helps and hinders when thinking about implementation in adult social care. Glasby: “Our funders have also financed an independent evaluation, so we’ll have internal and external evaluation to draw on. We also believe strongly in ‘learning by doing’, co-producing new, evidence-informed ways of working, trying them out in practice, taking stock and then doing some things differently if this will help us all improve.”
IMPACT’s work is informed by five ‘Assemblies’, a co-production advisory group and a Leadership Team made up of colleagues from 14 academic, policy and practice partners including carers’ organisations as well as the people who draw on care and support.
- Read more about IMPACT and Critical Friends