The Connecting People study was presented to the European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR) in Finland in March. This international conference brought together social work academics from across Europe and beyond.
I (Martin) presented two papers on behalf of the research team. The first discussed the methodology of the pilot study and presented some baseline data (abstract below). It was sandwiched between a paper on Kellogg’s approach to programme evaluation from Germany and one on critical realism from Finland. I received questions about how we are measuring fidelity to the Connecting People Intervention, which has prompted us to review our fidelity measure in our next team meeting to ensure it is fit for purpose.
The second was part of a symposium on randomised controlled trials in social work organised by Jonathan Scourfield of Cardiff University. I spoke about the development of the Connecting People Intervention model, which is the first phase of the development, evaluation and implementation of complex social interventions. This was followed by three UK examples of intervention trials in social work and a glimpse of how they work in Australia. Although frequently problematic and pragmatic, these types of study are helping to provide rigorous evidence about the effectiveness of social work practice.
Our pilot study is helping us to evaluate if the Connecting People Intervention improves outcomes for people using social work, social care and health services. Its findings will inform practice and future grant applications to conduct a randomised controlled trial, if it appears effective.
We are now in the final phase of recruitment of participants for the study – just one more month to go until recruitment closes. A huge ‘thank you’ to all the agencies, practitioners and service users participating in the study so far!