Birmingham at the heart of a new evidence-based adult social care Centre

woman inside
The Centre will build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce

The University of Birmingham has been announced as the lead partner of a brand new Centre for adult social care, which will aim to put evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing.

The new Centre called IMPACT (Improving Adult Care Together) has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Health Foundation, and will be the first Centre of its kind in the UK.

The Centre will:

  • Lead the way in helping people working in adult social care, carers, and the people they support make better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence to support innovation in adult social care
  • Build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce
  • Help develop sustainable and productive relationships between all of those working across adult social care
  • Improve our understanding of what helps or hinders when putting evidence into practice

The Centre will receive funding of £15 million over the next six years, with equal contributions from ESRC and the Health Foundation.  

The joint venture between ESRC and the Health Foundation means the two organisations can pool their expertise and experience in supporting the University of Birmingham and partners to help lead innovation and the spread of successful ideas to support the improvement of care beyond traditional boundaries. 

Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham who has been appointed as IMPACT’s director and will be working with a range of partners from across the UK to lead the co-development, establishment and delivery of the centre said:

“Adult social care touches people’s lives in such important and intimate ways, and it’s crucial that it’s based on the best possible evidence of what works.

“Good care isn’t just about services, it’s about having a life – and the ESRC and the Health Foundation are providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference.”

ESRC Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said:

“The complex nature of the social care system means that frontline practice does not always benefit sufficiently from the evidence we already have about what works.

“The increased implementation of evidence-based innovations and improvements in adult social care are crucial to ensuring better outcomes for the many people who use these services, and their carers and families. Finding a way to make this happen is challenging – but the prize, in terms of improvements to adult social care, makes it essential.”

Will Warburton, Director of Improvement, the Health Foundation, said:

“The fragmented nature of the adult social care sector poses real challenges for ensuring the consistent provision of evidence-based, high quality care and support.

“The IMPACT Centre will work alongside people with experience of care, carers, commissioners and providers to develop practical support that will increase the use of high-quality research evidence in the adult social care sector across the UK.”

Recognising the combined value of good practice and robust evidence from different sources, the Centre will bring together people with lived experience of social care, those providing unpaid care, people working in adult social care, experts in the mobilisation and implementation of evidence, social care providers, commissioners and policy experts, and academic teams from across the UK.

Together with stakeholders in adult social care and beyond, the IMPACT team will agree priorities and design, establish, deliver and evaluate the Centre’s work programme, aiming to lead to sustainable change in the use of evidence in adult social care.

Information on the IMPACT Centre and what the role will be is available online.

Notes to Editors:

For more information or interviews, please contact: Hasan Salim Patel, Communications Manager (Arts, Law and Social Sciences) or contact the press office out of hours on +44 (0)7789 921 165.

  1. The Centre will receive phased funding until 2027, and builds on previous ESRC investments in social care including the Sustainable Care Research Programme, and ESRC’s Innovation in Social Care Initiative. The Centre has been funded by ESRC through UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).
  2. Call specification: ESRC/Health Foundation UK Centre for Evidence Implementation in Adult Social Care (Strategic Priorities Fund)
  3. Professor Jon Glasby will lead the co-development, establishment and delivery IMPACT with the following partners: Skills for Care, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, the Care Workers’ Charity, Scottish Care, Carers UK, the British Association of Social Workers, Think Local Act Personal, the Association for Directors of Adult Social Services and the universities of Sheffield, Stirling, Ulster and Cardiff.
  4. The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  5. The University of Birmingham delivers the longest-running social work programme in the UK, having started to train social workers with a formal qualification in 1908. It is currently 4th in the UK for social work in the Complete University Guide, and is a core member of the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Social Care Research.
  6. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. The Health Foundation supports research and analysis on adult social care both in-house and through its awards. For example, we will soon be publishing projections on the future funding needs and reform of the adult social care system, as well as workforce and provider issues. We are also funding a community of practice for social care analysts and exploring how data analytics can be used to improve social care through our Strengthening Social Care Analytics programme.
  7. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policy-makers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. 
  8. UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.