Policy and Practice Event, Wales

Taking a look back over the pilot year and the next steps for IMPACT in Wales

In the second of a series of national policy and practice events, IMPACT organised a well-attended event at Cardiff University Business School to discuss the national context in Wales. We heard from IMPACT projects in Wales that had been completed and looked to future opportunities as IMPACT changes and grows. What started off on the drawing board as a much smaller event, was then purposively changed to be a much bigger, hopefully more inclusive event following the advice we received from IMPACT’s Co-production Advisory Group. The event was organised by IMPACT’s geographic lead for Wales, Professor Sarah Jenkins, Project Officer Dr Victoria Rivera-Ugarte and the National Embedding Team (Ewan King and Laura Griffith).

Prof Rachel Ashworth, Dean of Cardiff Business School, welcomed everyone to the event and spoke about the importance of social care and its place within the Business School. Dr Laura Griffith and Prof. Sarah Jenkins then described how IMPACT’s work had progressed from trialling projects in 2022-23 to moving into the delivery phase in 2023-24 where many more projects across Wales and the UK are starting. Sarah linked the work of IMPACT to key policy developments in Wales such as aspects of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014 and Laura spoke about the importance of taking the learning from these projects, collectively and individually, into policy and practice. She called for support from attendees for their insights and support in doing this.

Albert Heaney CBE, Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, addressed the audience on the importance of evidence-based policy in Wales and how lived experience, practice knowledge and research made its way to policy. Whilst acknowledging the huge challenges in social care, particularly the profound workforce shortages, he concentrated on initiatives such as the Best Practice and Continuous Improvement Forum and Regional Integration Fund and their part in developing an innovative care and support service. He stated that by combining “diverse strands of data, research, worker insight and lived experience, we can develop policies attuned to the complex realities on the ground.

We heard from many of the pilot projects in Wales as we had Sarah Harries from Hospice of the Valleys (supporting carers of those with dementia at the end of life), Jo Parsons and Tylor Hughes from Drive (Network on values-based recruitmentl) and Lisa Banks from Swansea Council (Network on choice and control).

To enhance stakeholder engagement for the upcoming projects and activities, participants were invited to collectively reflect on the connections between IMPACT’s learning and other individuals and organisations that could benefit.

This event brought together really diverse partners from the Welsh government, lived experience groups, and care providers including Hospice of the Valleys, DRIVE, Local Councils, Shared Lives, Cwmpas, WLGA, ADSS Cymru, Social Care Wales, Hywel Da, Coproduction Wales, Cooperatives, Carers Trust, Disability Wales, BASW, and the transformation Director of Children and Adult Services amongst many others. The day showed the enthusiasm for tackling really important issues in social care, and fore-fronted the importance of lived experience to senior figures.

Feedback included the following interesting points:

  • I met a contact in person so we had a good chat which will build for a stronger working relationship.
  • Learned more about current IMPACT projects.
  • I have shared feedback from the event at a Quality and Improvement meeting and with the Head of Service. We will consider how we can engage further with IMPACT and the priorities laid out at the event. Also we will share the Friends United Together video across our networks locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Friends United Together were inspirational, as were other real examples of innovative practice – thank you.