The grant provides funding for a multi-site pilot to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Connecting People Intervention in comparison with other interventions aimed to promote well-being and social participation. We will be drawing on the expertise of our collaborators to ensure its success: Professor David Morris (Inclusion Institute, University of Central Lancashire), Professor Paul McCrone (Centre for the Economics of Mental Health, IoP), Dr Martin Stevens (Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London), Peter Bates (National Development Team for Inclusion) and Polly Kaiser (Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust).
About the pilot study
It is increasingly important for social care service users in England to develop social relationships and engage in their local communities as care provision diversifies. Social care workers have some skills in supporting people with this, but there is little evidence about which approaches are the most effective or best value for money. This study will provide evidence about ways of working which produce the best outcomes at the lowest cost.
The study will have four components:
1) We will begin with a systematic review of research conducted on this topic across the world to identify examples of effective social care practice. We will also look for examples of good social care practice in England in helping people to participate in their communities and enhance their individual well-being.
2) Building on the work of the Connecting People study with people experiencing psychosis, which is developing a new way for workers to help people with their social relationships (the ‘Connecting People Intervention’), we will develop equivalent guidance for workers supporting people with a learning disability or older adults with a mental health problem. We will consult experts, including users of social care services and their carers, about this guidance to help ensure it is fit for purpose.
3) We will develop a questionnaire to be used in our research that will measure the extent to which workers are following the intervention guidance.
4) We will invite six social care agencies across England to test the Connecting People Intervention and an additional six, identified in the first part of the project, to continue to use their existing ways of working. We will invite 240 people with mental health problems, a learning disability or older adults with a mental health problem receiving services from these agencies for the first time to take part in the study. Participants will be interviewed when they start receiving services, and again twelve months later. They will all be asked the same questions to help us to evaluate the extent to which the Connecting People Intervention is effective and represents good value for money in helping people to improve their social participation and well being.
We aim to ensure that the project will have a significant impact on social care in England by sharing findings about effective and cost-effective ways of improving social participation and well-being widely throughout the sector.
The full technical protocol for the pilot study can be downloaded here.
Updates about the pilot of the Connecting People intervention will be posted on the study blog.