Skip to main content

What are the most important questions about Adult Social Work?

The Department of Health and Social Care have commissioned an organisation called James Lind Alliance to help the social work sector, including people with support needs and their carers, identify priority areas for research into social work with adults. The process started in 2017, with an invitation to the sector to think about research priorities and from that initial consultation a long list of 62 possible questions has been identified. The next step is to distil the 62 down to a top 10.

So, it’s your chance to tell researchers what research evidence would really help improve the effectiveness of social work. Improving our knowledge of what works in current social work practice is vital in achieving better outcomes for the people we work with, and making the case for our profession and the role of social workers.

There are a lot of really important issues in these 62 questions.

The Adult and Mental Health Policy, Practice and Education Groups (PPEGs) have met to look at the 62. The PPEGs felt strongly that the views of as many social workers as possible should contribute to the priorities and therefore the PPEGs have not come up with their own top 10 recommendations. However, the PPEGs feel that there are several areas of that should be included in the top 10 and we ask you to consider these when you select your priorities. These are as follows:

  1. Service user and carer engagement
  2. Questions around evidence of the efficacy of the Care Act
  3. Evidence of what difference professional social work makes in various practice areas
  4. Questions to do with models of practice, such as:

    Prevention / community and early intervention, first point of contact 
  5. Research into Making Safeguarding Personal
  6. Research into the use of quality assurance, including routine feedback from Service Users and Carers (SU&C)
  7. The support that social workers need to develop specialist areas of knowledge
  8. Impact of funding – sufficiency of funding and also the way money is allocated, best deployed?
  9. Effective multi-disciplinary working / integrated working

To find out more and take part in the survey, please visit

Please encourage colleagues that you work with to complete the survey by 1st July.  

Thank you for taking time to contribute to this important area of work, which has great potential to strengthen the evidence base for social work with adults.

Joe Godden

Professional Officer