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Example of an engagement and impact plan - Making positive moves


Published: 01 July 2019

Version: 1.2 - April 2021

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Researchers who apply for funding from NIHR research programmes are expected to include an engagement and impact plan in their application. This plan should outline how you will engage with research users to deliver impact from your research.

This case study outlines the dissemination and engagement plan in an application to the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme. The case study indicates the key features that help make this plan effective. 

Background information

Funding stream: Research for Patient Benefit

Title: Making positive moves: What support do people with Learning Disabilities need to remain living in the community after moving under the Transforming Care Programme? A qualitative longitudinal study

PI: Dr Louisa Rhodes, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Aim: To identify what can help people with learning disabilities live long-term in community once they leave hospital.

Application information

Co-applicants: Nine. One from Local Authority, one Social Worker, one academic with experience of translating research findings into clinical guidance and tools, the rest academics.

What makes this approach effective: Good mix of frontline operational expertise and those who know how to make change happen. Two non-researchers as co-applicants create a better-balanced team. PPIE – Advisory group that includes two ‘experts by experience’ amongst others that will be chaired by the Local Authority professional. Good to have non-academic as a chair to encourage ongoing engagement.

Resources: Allocated six months to dissemination, with funding for staff time.

What makes this approach effective: Allocated enough time and money.

Dissemination and engagement plan

What do you intend to produce from your research?

What makes this approach effective: Well-set out table with links between study outputs, timescales and impact and target audiences clearly identified.

Outcome/deliverableTimescale to benefitImpact What makes this approach effective

The Making Positive Moves Website 

Awarded £40,000 by NHS England to develop a web-based resource in co-production with service-users and carers connected to the Transforming Care (TC) Programme.

Month 0-36 and beyond A public platform for findings to be disseminated nationally in real time to TC teams, commissioners as well as directly to people with learning disabilities, carers and the public.  Engaging those who are the most likely to use the website in helping to create it.

Guidelines and policy documents

National Senior Psychiatric Lead, NHS England National TC Team, has agreed to support the dissemination of outputs to TC teams around the country.

Month 25- 36 onwards Contribute to the service model for commissioners and future guidance for services. This will reach all TC teams in England. Have got the right people in the right place to send out guidelines.

Hosting a national conference

To share research findings and recommendations whilst also bringing together all involved in transforming care, including service users, families and care providers, advocates, community teams, social workers, commissioners and other stakeholder groups, to share good practice and improve service provision.

Month 35 Influence the way community placements are set up and run. Improving the wellbeing of service users and sustainability of placements. This stakeholder conference has the right audiences to meet the aim of improving services.

Teaching and Training

Develop a range of training resources for staff teams, care providers, NHS community health teams and social care teams based on the findings from the research. Some will be free and others incur a fee.

Month 25- 35 onwards Embed findings in practice, improving the experience of people with learning disabilities moving to and living well in the community. Recognises that educational interventions are one of the more effective ways of making change happen.


Dissemination of recommendations through charities, such as the British Institute of Learning Disabilities and Learning Disability England, as well as specialist academic centres including the Tizard and Estia Centres and presentation at specialist conferences.

Month 25- 35 onwards Increase the visibility of our recommendations to the learning disabilities community nationally and internationally. Use of charities, which often have powerful networks.

Dissemination of findings

Though peer reviewed journals (e.g. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities; Qualitative Health Research).


Month 25- 35 onwards As above + this will ensure the credibility of the work and its international reach.  

How will your outputs enter our health and care system or society as a whole?

What makes this approach effective: Clearly identify target audiences, demonstrating how they will be involved and give examples of previous studies to show track record.

Influencing national guidelines and standards

Our current relationships with NHS England and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services will enable us to directly contribute to policy and guidance and quality standards (for example, the Transforming Care Service Model Specification NHS England, 2017). Our contribution at this level will help to influence how the Care Quality Commission sets its quality standards for community placements for people with learning disabilities. 

What makes this approach effective: Provides documentary evidence of previous success in reaching the right people.

Engagement of professionals working in Transforming Care teams

The NHS England National TC Team have agreed to disseminate research findings to all TC partnership boards in England. They have already disseminated results of the ‘moving process’ study to all TC teams and through a national webinar to all TC partnership boards.

What makes this approach effective: Demonstrates that they have the right people on board with whom they have already worked. Using webinars, which are likely to be more effective than sending out documentation.

We have also linked with key professionals in the cultural workforce development stream at NHS England who have agreed to develop a dissemination plan for the research programme.

What makes this approach effective: This is impressive, because they’ve got the right people on board to agree to co-produce a dissemination and engagement strategy to influence commissioners and practitioners.

What further funding or support will be required if this research is successful (e.g. from NIHR, other government departments or industry)?

What makes this approach effective: Demonstrates that are considering NHS and voluntary organisations as partners and co-funders.

Training resources will be developed during the 3rd year of the programme. For the face to face training to be offered on a wide-scale basis, additional funding will be necessary. NHS England are a strong funding option to cement the impact of the Transforming care programme. Charitable organisations such as Mencap also offer funding opportunities.

We have funding from NHS England to maintain the website for up to 3 years following completion of the research. We will apply to NHS England to extend this funding to support ongoing maintenance and development of the web-based resource in the longer term.

What are the possible barriers for further research, development, adoption and implementation?

What makes this approach effective: Demonstrates an awareness that key barriers to research findings influencing policy and practice are contextual.  

The Transforming Care Programme has made transitions possible by coming with a greater investment in individual support packages. Future funding of the programme is uncertain which raises the question of the adequacy of funding long term to provide high quality placements for people moving out of hospital. This may impact on how local NHS and Social Care Teams are able to implement the recommendations from this research. However, the majority of resources will be freely available and accessible to teams and are likely to focus on relational factors rather than specific resources needed.

The implementation of our recommendations may require significant changes to the culture and working practices of some organisations. The lack of training and investment in care staff may present a barrier. We hope to offset this barrier by providing our own training resources, which will aim to facilitate changes in culture and working practices.

What do you think the impact of your research will be and for whom?

What makes this approach effective: Set themselves ambitious but achievable goals with timeframes.

  • In the short to medium term (-1 to 5 years after study) for the study findings to have real influence in shaping and refining national policy and guidelines on the delivery of Transforming Care and the provision of community placements for those with learning disabilities.
  • In the short to medium term (-1 to 5 years after study) for this study to stand as an example of best practice in how to include the voices of people with learning disabilities in how services are evaluated.
  • In the medium to long term (5-10 years after study) for best practice guidelines and training packages produced from this study to be implemented and embedded in practice by Learning Disability teams and community placement providers.