Using research in family support

November 2008

A KTP collaboration with Wakefield Metropolitan District Council's Family Services encouraged a culture shift towards using research to improve effectiveness, and the implementation of Research Governance Framework procedures.

"The KTP project enabled Wakefield Family Services to become established as a research-minded organisation. We can demonstrate continual improvements to services and efficiency gains. This continues to be evident after the project has ceased." (Angela Liversedge, Performance Improvement Manager, Wakefield MDC Family Services)Wakefield Metropolitan District Council in West Yorkshire embarked on a collaborative Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with the University of York, with the aim of using research to increase efficiency in the Family Services Directorate's service delivery and staff development. The project also involved implementing the Research Governance Framework (RGF) more fully in health and social care.

At the start of the project, a benchmarking exercise identified key outcome measures in respect of the use of research and adherence to RGF guidelines, and revealed how Wakefield MDC compared with other local authorities.

The KTP partnership led to a culture shift in the directorate towards being 'research-minded'; seeing research as a tool for improving the effectiveness of services. Robust procedures were put in place to ensure RGF compliance, ensuring research is 'safe' and not duplicated.

Impact

  • The KTP has delivered measurable improvements within Wakefield MDC Family Services.
  • Research is now embedded in the Council's performance management framework, and used systematically alongside other data sources to inform service planning and continuous improvement.
  • Cost efficiencies have been achieved in service delivery and by avoiding duplication of research.
  • Robust RGF procedures have been put in place, ensuring full compliance with the Department of Health's Research Governance Framework.
  • The experiences have been shared with other organisations in the UK and overseas, generating positive publicity.

Further information

This KTP partnership was fully funded by the ESRC.