We’re mid-way through our 2022 Establishment phase, and deep in the middle of setting up pilot projects to test our four delivery models. We are delighted to share that our first IMPACT Network has been set up.
IMPACT Networks are one of the four delivery models IMPACT is piloting to achieve change in adult social care. Our first network is looking at choice and control for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues in supported living. Our Network Coordinators are:
What are IMPACT Networks?
Networks are being piloted across the UK, with local networks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England, all focusing on the same issues. The aims are:
- To improve practice and outcomes in adult social care at the local level and solve common, yet complex challenges.
- To bring together practical solutions at the community level to create solutions that can be scaled up to help inspire and inform change across the UK.
Each local network, made up of 8-10 people – people with experience of care and support, carers, front-line staff, funders/decision-makers, and relevant service providers – will meet four times over a period of six months. They will discuss a particular issue using materials provided in advance, such as findings from research, practice knowledge, and lived experience. Members will share their experiences and learning and suggest practical solutions.
They will feedback to the Networks Lead, Kate Hamblin, and Networks Manager Amber Cagney, and learning will be shared with the other local groups working on the same issues, creating a network of networks. The aim is to produce an action plan to take a particular issue forward and enact change.
IMPACT Networks were inspired by one of our Critical Friends: Nka, the Swedish Family Care Competence Centre. For many years, Nka has worked with ‘Blended Learning Networks’ – a method where people with a common interest and from various backgrounds work towards a common goal. They learn from each other and share experiences and convert research results into practice and policy. The networks always focus on carers, but each local network is based on a specific theme of interest to key stakeholder groups, including informal carers and their organisations
A local network consists of 10-15 people – carers, health and social care practitioners, decision-makers, local politicians – led by one or two members. The leaders of the local networks in turn have meetings with staff from Nka, forming a national network.
We were also inspired by Etienne Wenger, who in the field of education, developed the concept of communities of practice in organisations to solve common issues they were facing. Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning – they share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better through regular interaction.
Next step for our Network
The first Network meetings will take place in late July.
Amber Cagney has recently been appointed as the Networks Manager, and will be working closely with Kate. Maria Teresa Ferazzoli has also joined the team in Sheffield recently as the Project Officer. We will update our project page with updates from Kate and the team.