At a glance

Research in Practice aims to improve the lives of people – children, young people, families, adults, carers and communities.

Our review looks back at our delivery, highlighting our work to support evidence-informed practice with our Partner network and colleagues across the sector.

Our approach

Our work brings together research evidence, practice wisdom and expertise from people’s lived experience. We do this by: 

  • Reading the latest research evidence.
  • Speaking to professionals across the sector about practice wisdom and current issues.
  • Listening to people with lived experience.

We then work with experts to create learning opportunities and resources on relevant topics; tailored to the learning needs of individuals and organisations. We also share knowledge with people accessing and providing support to develop professionals’ skills and confidence.

Our vision is:

  • a more equitable, just and inclusive society
  • in which people needing support can feel confident the professionals involved in their lives are skilled and knowledgeable
  • and those professionals are able to continuously reflect, learn and develop, supported by safe, sustainable systems and effective leaders.

Listen below to Research in Practice Director, Dez Holmes speak about evidence-informed practice.

We work towards this vision by increasing professional, organisational and system capacity for evidence-informed, reflexive and continuously improving practice.

Our Partner network

Our Partner network steers our work - comprising of local, national and voluntary organisations, as well as universities across England.

How we support our Partner organisations

Our Partner organisations have full access to our learning offer which includes publications, events, conferences, research projects, learning and development programmes, and online resources.

They are also kept informed, with monthly updates on the latest research evidence, and case law. We strive to support our Partners in working together – exchanging knowledge, learning and innovation across geographical or service boundaries. To facilitate this, each organisation has designated Link Officers who are the linchpins of our network.

Link Officers act as the key contact within Partner organisations and promote the use of evidence-informed practice within them. They do this by facilitating the sharing of ideas and mobilisation of knowledge to their own Research in Practice members, and by connecting with colleagues across the network. Our annual Link Officers’ Annual Meeting provides an opportunity each year for Link Officers to come together. In 2023 we examined recruitment and retention, which is a key sector priority. 

Research in Practice supports us to become reflective, informed and courageous in practice, resulting in our workforce having the information they require to provide excellent services to children, young people, adults and their families.

Research in Practice Partner

Our Link Officers share a Research in Practice update every month in staff practice bulletin, showing new and interesting resources. […]They use Research in Practice resources to facilitate regular sessions on chosen topics with senior social workers and occupational therapists to embed learning on a particular theme, and encourage further learning by sharing and signposting to Research in Practice resources.

Research in Practice Partner

To support Partners, we have increased access to learning and development opportunities and improved peer-to-peer learning across the Research in Practice network by introducing a rolling programme of member engagement activities. The sessions aim to support colleagues in using Research in Practice, building engagement, and learning the latest messages on key topics. The sessions are ideal for staff in forward facing roles and offer opportunities for peer reflection as well as hearing key messages on topics. 

For Directors, Assistant Directors and strategic leads from across the network, our 2022 Leaders’ Forum explored integration, which is sometimes presented as the solution for the issues facing social care. Advocates often describe it as a joined-up approach to service delivery so that those who need support have a more seamless experience and ideally a better service. As such, integration can be seen as an opportunity to make better use of resources in the face of intense financial and demographic challenges. The conference provided a unique opportunity to network with peers to network and share ideas.

How we support university Partners

University membership offers students, course leaders and researchers access to peer-reviewed publications, multimedia learning resources, engagement activities and support in a fast-changing social care policy and practice landscape. By using Research in Practice materials, university Partners can ensure that teaching programmes speak directly to core learning and development requirements. 

The university offer includes a dedicated university hub which offers access to evidence-informed content, tailored to the needs of researchers, teaching staff, faculty, and students in social care.  

How we deliver learning directly to Partners

'The facilitator's delivery and ability to enable attendees to reflect on practice is excellent; engagement is a pleasure and not a chore. As a result, I have a list of actions to implement in my practice with immediate effect.'

Research in Practice Partner

To support our members’ professional development, we offer an extensive menu of online learning workshops that provide an effective and engaging way to deliver professional development directly to organisations.

Designed in consultation with the Research in Practice network, the menu includes popular topics for practitioners and managers working with children, young people, adults, and families. This includes using analysis and critical thinking in assessment, trauma-informed practice, intra-familial child sexual abuse, developing effective leadership skills and more.

Since launching in 2020, over 25,000 participants have attended our online learning programmes with 96% of recent attendees saying learning is likely to have an impact on their practice. Delivered by experienced facilitators, each online learning workshop uses a range of methods to engage participants in active learning.


How we support with Continuing Professional Development

As a health and social care practitioner, it is important to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) to enhance your professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills.

Partner organisation members can use any Research in Practice resource to record their CPD and we continue to provide regular guidance on the recording, registration and regulation of CPD.

We champion the use of Research in Practice resources in ways that enable staff to feel encouraged and supported. We arrange sessions specifically for managers and advanced practitioners to show them how they can utilise the resources to help them deliver team-based learning, whilst also setting up CPD sessions aimed at registered social workers and occupational therapists to support them with registration requirements.

Research in Practice Partner

Our learning resources and events

We continue to produce a diverse programme of learning resources and events to support professionals working with children and families, and adults. View topics chosen by our Partner network this year.