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Home > How good is the social care sector at building an evidence base?

, Hardy, Ruth How good is the social care sector at building an evidence base? (07 Jul 2015)

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“Social workers need the time and space to find, use and share research. That’s difficult to do when you have so much work that you don’t feel able to stop and think,” says Gerry Nosowska, a former social worker and manager who now supports social workers to use evidence in practice. “We need a culture in our organisations that encourages and values social workers reading, discussing and reflecting.”

It is not just social workers who need the time and resources to be able to base their decisions on evidence; people at all levels of social care, from policymakers and commissioners down to frontline staff, should be grounding their conclusions on solid, up-to-date research.

But, for various reasons, social care has struggled with developing a robust evidence base. A report from the National Audit Office last year stated that “compared with healthcare, evidence is weaker on which ways of commissioning and providing services are the most cost-effective”. In a time of major cutbacks in council budgets, this matters; we need to be sure that the money we do have is being spent in the most effective ways.

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