One area of its work focuses on local authorities which are  implementing new ways of working in adult social care, such as stimulating more community led support (CLS) for people with care and support needs. The CLS approach has yet to be independently evaluated, which will help understand how CLS has been implemented in various local authorities. ARC South London researchers are undertaking this evaluation because there is an evidence gap about this new approach. Our evaluation will inform the future work of NDTI, as well as providing better understanding of the practicalities and approaches to CLS that are being adopted.

Project aim

The aim of the project is to; understand how the community-led support model is understood by NDTI and its partners, and their underpinning theories of change. Overall, we aim to evaluate how NDTI implements and assesses the use of the community-led support (CLS) programme.

How the project will be carried out

This project consists of three stages. Initially we will conduct a review of NDTI documents related to the CLS programme, including but not limited to reports and case studies. We will conduct this review to assess how NDTI has reflected on their own work to date, and also gain understanding of how its staff interpret and understand the theoretical ideas of change and culture (looking for themes which align with the interview topics which will follow).

Secondly, we will be conducting interviews with key NDTI CLS staff, as well as working with five local authority case study sites and conducting semi-structured interviews with an option to include eco-mapping, with staff and third sector organisations involved in the implementation of the CLS programme. The interview areas of exploration are as follows; Background of interviewee involvement with CLS, culture, leadership, co-production, data, research.

Finally we will work with case study sites to understand data usage. We will use the interviews and consult with the three lived experience groups to plan how best to work with each case study site, and what analyses may be possible and desired.

Our collaborators

Collaborators will include stakeholders from across the ARC National Priority network, the organisation NDTI, local authorities that work with NDTI, and local community groups which are involved in the NDTI programme. We will also be consulting with three lived experience groups, one national lived experience group working across this ARC National project, one professional experience group, and one lived experience group (including service users). This project will address multiple perspectives to ensure all aspects of the NDTI CLS approach or model are evaluated and understood as far as possible.

Potential benefits of the project

This research project will enable NDTI, and the local authorities involved to better understand their approaches to CLS, what works, and what might need improving. Researchers will also be able to disseminate information on how this particular CLS programme works with a more granular level of understanding. They also hope to improve the use of data in evaluating the CLS programmes.

The project is funded by the NIHR National Priority Network on Social Care and Social Work. It will be completed by December 2023.