Innovations in Adult Social Care and Social Work

The aim of this evaluation was to rapidly identify and prioritise a shortlist of innovations to evaluate in adult social care and social work.


There are many innovations in adult social care and social work across the UK. Therefore, it is necessary to horizon scan and identify top priorities for evaluation..


The horizon scanning and prioritisation work was undertaken by a team drawn from BRACE and RSET jointly. The identification of innovations followed an adapted version of the James Lind Alliance method for priority setting. We followed four steps:

  1. Identification of innovations, seeking inputs from 182 stakeholders (individuals and organisations);
  2. Development of criteria for shortlisting;
  3. Grouping and sifting innovations;
  4. Prioritisation of innovations in a workshop setting with 23 stakeholders including several service users.

Project team


One hundred and fifty-eight innovations were suggested. Twenty of these were included in the final shortlist. Twenty-three participants attended the prioritisation workshop. They included people who use adult social care services, practitioners, academics/researchers, commissioners/policy makers and carers. The top five priorities, which were agreed during the workshop, are described in the attached report, along with the key themes and principles that informed the prioritisation decisions.


Given the short period of time available for the horizon scanning, certain innovations may have been missed from the final shortlist. Similarly, some innovations that were included may have already been, or currently are being evaluated.


This approach was successful in identifying a large number of innovations in a short period of time, developing a shortlist and identifying the top five priorities. The next stage will be to conduct further scoping of the top five innovations (and existing/planned evaluations), in order to identify two innovations that can be evaluated by the two rapid evaluation teams.

Project duration

July 2019- November 2019 


Rapid prioritisation of topics for rapid evaluation: the case of innovations in adult social care and social work Katherine Cowan, Naomi Fulop, Amelia Harshfield, Pei Li Ng, Antiopi Ntouva, Manni Sidhu, Jon Sussex, Sonila Tomini, Holly Walton, March 2021

National Institute for Health Research Services and Delivery Research stream (NIHR HSDR) Rapid Evaluation Centre Topic Report (see "Award Data" Oct 2022 Web Report)  New and emerging technology for adult social care - the example of home sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) technology Jon Glasby, Ian Litchfield, Sarah Parkinson, Lucy Hocking, Denise Tanner, Bridget Roe, Jennifer Bousfield, October 2022