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Top 10 Research Priorities for Adult Social Work Research

BASW are delighted to have been part of the James Lind Alliance project commissioned by Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker.

The project is designed 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 top ten priorities for research has been released today and is welcomed by BASW to influence the future agenda within adult social care ensuring that good social work practice is grounded within strong evidence.

BASW England members have been directly involved in this work and we call upon social workers and the wider social care sector to share and discuss these priorities.

Peter Feldon, Chair of Adult Policy, Practice and Education Group, BASW England said: "I look forward to the improved knowledge of what works well that these research priorities will help to generate. l am pleased that they include the impact of the Care Act and also how the availability of funding impacts on social work practice."

Reshma Patel, Expert by Experience, Adult Policy, Practice and Education Group, BASW England, added: "I welcomed the debate to arrive at the final ten priorities, to my amazement I realised that social workers share the same priorities and concerns as service users and carers. This project demonstrates that co-production really works. I hope other organisations can learn from the approach taken." 

The top ten priorities have been identified as:

  1. How is availability of funding impacting on (a) adult social workers’ practice and (b) the decisions made?
  2. What impact is the Care Act having on (a) adult social work practice and (b) the outcomes for people using services and their carers, particularly their well-being and safety?
  3. How is ‘well-being’ understood and incorporated into adult social work practice? How can we assess whether adult social workers impact on the well-being of people using services?
  4. How could communication between adult social workers and people using services be improved, especially with those people who have difficulty with communication (e.g. use of new media, better communication skills, working with other professionals)?
  5. Has the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 been embedded into practice and what are the impacts on people using services and their carers?
  6. How are eligibility criteria applied to people with different types of needs and are the thresholds appropriate? What impact does this have on the care and support offered and / or early prevention?
  7. What are the most effective ways for adult social workers to work with people who self-neglect?
  8. Does regular contact with an adult social worker and / or a long-term professional relationship with an adult social worker improve outcomes for people using services?
  9. How well do adult social workers support person-centred decision making and ensure holistic support? How well do they take into account a person’s physical and mental health problems?
  10. Does partnership working between adult social workers and other health and social care professionals result in better outcomes for people using services?

Read the full report