IMPACT – Improving Adult Social Care Together

IMPACT – Improving Adult Social Care Together

Posted 23rd June 2024

The House Project approach started when care experienced young people, who had already moved into their own homes, told us that this was not a good experience for them. They went on to tell us what they needed to leave care well and, by taking a relational approach and using research, lived experience and practice wisdom we codified the fidelity of the psychologically informed approach and scaled an innovation across England and Scotland. NHP offers a framework approach that can flex to the needs of different local authorities (LAs) and the needs of individual young people, and we continue to work with young people and their LAs to develop ways to provide young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed. 

Young people are told that once they are part of an LHP they are part of it forever. There is no arbitrary cut-off date and young people can continue to access support and be part of the House Project Community for as long as they want. Young people from our early Local House Projects (LHPs) are now reaching the age of 25 and the promise to be part of something forever is now being tested.  Young people from House Projects who have moved in to their first home benefit from ongoing support from staff they know well, and this has undoubtedly contributed to us not having a single tenancy breakdown or eviction from the 450 plus young people now living in their own homes. Undoubtedly the strong relationships with staff and a base they can continue to access underpins this success, but the ongoing support and potential specialism of support required is challenged by service design, austerity, policy, legislation and a lack of practice-based evidence on how to support this cohort well. Even with a renewed focus on care leavers following Care Reviews in both England and Scotland and revised regulatory framework (Ofsted), services are struggling to meet the needs of this cohort.   

Most care experienced young adults do not qualify for adult social care but often need an ongoing low level of support to prevent them from having to access higher levels of support following a crisis. The question for NHP then became ‘how do we build a framework that involves other services, including the voluntary service, to work alongside LHPs to ensure that the ‘cliff edge’ hasn’t just been moved from 18 – 25’.

As we began to think about this, we were made aware of IMPACT - a £15 million UK centre for implementing evidence in adult social care. It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Health Foundation. The Leadership Team is made up of 13 individuals, led by Professor Jon Glasby at the University of Birmingham. This team includes academics, people who draw on care and support, and policy and practice partners. We also involved a broader consortium of key stakeholders from across both, the sector, and the four nations of the UK.

IMPACT believes that ‘good support isn’t just about ‘services’ – it’s about having a life.

In pursuit of this vision IMPACT’s key objectives are to enable practical improvements on the ground and make a crucial contribution to longer-term cultural change by:

  • Increasing the use of high-quality evidence, leading to better care practices, systems and outcomes
  • Building capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce to work with evidence of different kinds to innovate and deliver better outcomes
  • Developing relationships between a wide range of stakeholders across the sector, to improve outcomes for people who draw on services and their families
  • Improving understanding of what elements of evidence implementation do and do not work in practice, and using this to overcome barriers 

IMPACT’s objectives fitted well with those of NHP and what we wanted to achieve organisationally in order to provide a positive environment for young care experienced adults to feel supported and thrive. On this basis we put in a bid to be an IMPACT Demonstrator Site, suggesting that we have Coventry and Fife LHPs as areas of focus to enable us to look at frameworks for both England and Scotland. Our bid was successful, and we look forward to starting this work in September which will run until September 2025. We will work with 2 coaches (each 0.5 FTE for a year who have now been appointed. Rianne McLean will support Fife and Mandy Andrew will support Coventry. They will support the LHPs and LAs within which they work to bring together a range of stakeholders to think about how we could do things differently and to pilot a new approach.

We are keen to work with IMPACT, care experienced adults and sector experts to develop an evidence informed change programme that enables care experienced adults to be supported to live well. As a learning organisation who has previously worked the Innovation Unit on services within Childrens Social Care we welcome the rigour, knowledge and insights that come from working with IMPACT and have the ambition to transform services in the LAs that we are working with and for this to be used to inform practice and policy at a national level.  

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