Hot on the evidence trail

Since their establishment in April, the three work streams have been hunting for evidence in a variety of places. A recent meeting provided an opportunity to look back at their activities to date and plan the way ahead. One of the first decisions was to extend the project by a couple of months to allow more time to conduct the search, explore findings and analyse their implications. This means the project will finish at the end of October, with a presentation and workshop at IRISS’s Champions event.

It is interesting to see that each work stream has taken a different approach to the quest.

The work stream on SDS for people with mental health conditions sprang into action very quickly, holding a first exploratory meeting early in May. A review of the literature was initiated and is now well underway. This was followed by a successful focus group last week. Participants were drawn from Falkirk District Association for Mental Health, NHS Lothian, Falkirk Council, Community Care Providers Scotland, Scottish Recovery Network, Penumbra and Highland Council. Importantly, among their number was someone with personal experience of using care services, and also a carer.  Between them, participants brought a wide range of perspectives to bear.  Each presented the learning from a piece of work they had been involved in or are planning. If they hadn’t been directly involved in a piece of work they talked about what the desired outcomes of any work should be. Participants then continued the discussion by looking at the quality of the evidence. A key element of the overall project is to reflect on the value of different types of evidence for different audiences and purposes. Work stream members will shortly be reconvening to decide on next steps. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, members of the work stream looking at SDS and people from BME communities are thinking about organising a seminar.The purpose would be to look at the experience of BME disabled people and the potential of SDS to begin to mitigate current disadvantage in terms of lower access to mainstream services.  They also want to learn from the experience of others, for example, in England or Northern Ireland where work is more advanced.  Having pulled together evidence at this seminar, they’re thinking of using it to raise awareness of the specific issues of disabled BME people and carers. By engaging with existing SDS fora/workstreams they might also find out more about evidence gaps and needs.

Lastly, but in no way leastly, the work stream exploring the implications of human rights for SDS has decided to focus specifically on eligibility, resource allocation, assessment procedures – and the outcomes that ensue. They’re in the process of pulling together existing evidence on these topics in order to identify gaps. That evidence includes feedback from a workshop at Glasgow Disability Alliance’s recent Learning Festival, which considered human rights and independent living.

As part of their evidence-gathering exercise, this work stream is asking blog-readers for help. They would be particularly keen to know about:

  • any information or case studies on how the Resource Allocation System is being applied, particularly in relation to the Self Evaluation Questionnaire, and how these impact on assessment and outcomes
  • any case studies/anecdotes on charging and eligibility decisions

It would be really helpful if you could post here anything that might be relevant to this work stream – or indeed any of the work streams.