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Policy Research Programme Round 35 Webinar Q&A


Published: 30 January 2023

Version: 1.0 January 2023

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PRP (35-01-04) Evaluation of the Impact of the Adult Social Care Provider Information Provisions

Will DHSC be able to provide contact details for registered care home managers?

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) would provide introductions and/or contacts to the successful applicant where DHSC hold the data and it is necessary and helpful to share. In the case where these are not available contact details may also be available online.

Is the enforcement activity data updated monthly?

Yes, adult social care providers are mandated to submit their data monthly. Full details of the core subset of data which providers are required to submit in the Capacity Tracker (CT) on a monthly basis are published in the Adult social care provider information provisions: guidance for providers on data collection.

What format is the data provided in?

Different parts of the data may be available in different formats, but generally the data will be shared in an excel or .csv file that will be compatible with R.

How regularly would there be meetings with DHSC after the project has commenced?

DHSC does not have a fixed view on how many meetings are required through the project life-cycle and is open to the suggestions from potential applicants. At the outset of the project DHSC will invite the successful applicant to give an update at an advisory group from there it will be determined how regularly the project team and DHSC will meet.

Is there an existing Theory of Change (ToC) or logic model for the policy that can be shared?

There isn’t a ToC or logic model in place but this could be created by the successful applicant as they design the evaluation for the programme, if it is felt this will add value.

Will there be capacity tracker data available for before and after the enforcement policy came in?

Yes, data will be available from before and after provider data enforcement commenced.

CT data will be available from the beginning of 2021, however metrics have changed since then.

Some milestones which may be of use:

  • On 6th April 2022 the frequency of uploads to the capacity tracker changed from a daily request for data submission to a weekly request.
  • Enforcement came into force from August 2022 with a change of mandate from weekly to monthly updates.

PRP (35-01-11) An evaluation of support for unpaid carers funded through the Better Care Fund (BCF)

Would it be acceptable for a project to focus on a specific group of carers (for example young carers 16-25) and a specific geographical area?

The evaluation should provide evidence to inform national policy and local decision making. Therefore, the development phase should have a broad focus that maps the range of activities and local decisions taking place to support unpaid carers through the BCF. However, NIHR is open to proposals that incorporates a focus on specific groups, topic areas or intervention types e.g., respite or interventions focussed on the hospital discharge process, particularly in relation to the main stage longer-term evaluation, but how this approach would inform broader policy would need to be fully justified.

The bid seems to be fairly prescriptive in the work that needs doing, will NIHR consider proposals with a particular angle on this, for example focusing on a specific care group or locality?

See answer to Question 1.

Is there data available from before the intervention came in or will this need to be explored during the scoping phase?

The specification sets out the national outcome metrics provided by local areas, which are collated from various data sources and reported annually as seen on the NHS England's Better Care Fund reporting and insight webpage. The development phase should examine a range of activities taking place to support unpaid carers funded through the BCF and explore expected outcome measures in relation to data collection and availability. Please see the specification for further information on what the development phase might include.

Do applicants need to provide full details and costings for the phase 2 (main stage) or just the development phase? Will phase 2 go back to open call?

Applicants are not required to provide full costings for phase 2 (main phase). At this stage - applicants are only required to submit their detailed plans and costs for the development phase of the project. Since the development phase will inform the main study, we recognise that it will not be possible to set out full details of the main study at this point.

The specification contains a commitment to fund both the development and main phase, the decision to progress to the main phase will be dependent on the outcome of the development phase. On completion of the development phase, applicants will be required to set out a plan for the main study, including costs.

A recommendation on whether to fund phase 2 will be made by independent experts. The decision to progress will be subject to independent expert assessment of the development phase, including the proposed approach to the main study, and an assessment of value for money for the main stage. NIHR reserves the right to go out to open tender for phase 2 if required.

Will DHSC be able to secure access to data from Local Authorities (LAs) on how the BCF money is being used for the successful applicant or will all data need to be sourced directly from LAs?

The specification sets out the types of data and plans which local areas will be required to provide to central government for 2023-25 and which will be available to the successful applicant. NIHR expects current and future data collections to be considered and used, by the successful applicant, to inform the design of an evaluation of any BCF funded unpaid carer support. The successful applicant will also provide, as part of the development phase, recommendations on an approach for working with local areas to enable them to engage and potentially participate in the main stage impact evaluation.

Will DHSC support engagement with specific local areas / case study areas that are the focus of the main stage evaluation?

Where possible, DHSC will facilitate the successful applicant to engage local areas. The successful applicant will, through the development phase, consider and set out an approach for working with local areas to enable them to engage and potentially participate in the main stage impact evaluation.

PRP (35-01-10) Shaping the future of the National Core Improvement Offer: An evaluation of which improvement activities work in the adult social care sector

Is there any more information about your plans for the National Core Improvement Offer?

The improvement policy is still being developed. Details of the policy will be shared with the successful applicant, but it is likely that the 23/24 offer will be similar in scope to the current offer. This research will be an opportunity to inform the developing policy of the future National Core Improvement Offer.

Is it possible to add new co-applicants after the development phase?

At the end of the development phase applicants will need to set out a plan and full costings for the main phase. Co-applicants can be added and removed after the development phase.

PRP (35-01-06) Evaluation of the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund

The King’s Fund scoping report highlighted a lack of data of CASSH funded homes – has this improved?

Data regarding the dwelling/units (which cohort, geographical location etc.) is available to the successful applicant to facilitate the evaluation. Impact on residents’ needs is out of scope of this evaluation, and DHSC is unable to provide data on that.

How might the role of digital technologies reducing demand for specialist forms of housing be addressed by the selected contractor?

DHSC’s research priority remains specifically on the CASSH Fund and its effectiveness in incentivising supported housing supply. DHSC recognises the role digital technologies may potentially have, but DHSC considers it more relevant to the wider policy question of making homes suitable for people in need. Nonetheless, DHSC would be open to researchers exploring this theme as part of the qualitative evaluation, e.g. to explore if less demand for supported housing units due to improved technology has an impact on demand for CASSH funding.

PRP (35-01-05) Evaluation of the Adult Social Care Volunteer scheme

Does the ASC volunteer scheme include home care and care homes?

DHSC is still engaging with the sector on the types of roles to be included in the scheme. It is anticipated that both home care and care home settings will have roles included. DHSC will be able to share more with the successful applicant.

What is the scope of the scheme roll out – all United Kingdom or England?

The scheme is England only.

Will the data include geographical information and locations where volunteers are active?

Data will be collected on geographical information. There will be the opportunity for the successful applicant to discuss any additional data needs.

Is baseline data available?

DHSC is currently working with the service provider to maximise the availability of baseline data. On use of volunteering, the sort of information that is likely to be available is around use of volunteer hours at different stages since the inception of the service and an understanding of whether the provider was already relying on volunteer support through other channels prior to the implementation of the scheme. DHSC are also currently working with the service provider to test whether it would be possible to collect information on the extent of the volunteering support used through other channels (e.g. number of hours) but that is likely to be more challenging to collect (too burdensome, providers not holding records). DHSC is also exploring options for matching data obtained through the service provider to Skills for Care ASC-WDS data. DHSC can facilitate engagement with Skills for Care and facilitate with access, where feasible, to any other data sources that are appropriate.

What will be the iterative process between Phase 1 and Phase 2?

The focus of Phase 1 is understanding the process and what any emerging impacts are. Phase 2 will be informed and build upon Phase 1 findings. DHSC remain open on the methodological approach.

What are the expected timings of the two phases?

The timings for outputs and the phases are outlined within the specification. DHSC recognises that particularly for phase 2 timings will be dependent on the methods selected. The appointed applicant will be expected to deliver evidence, if feasible, by the key decision points in the specification.

Has there been engagement with existing voluntary sector groups who provide volunteers into ASC as to how they might engage with the platform?

DHSC have engaged with a range of stakeholders in the design of the scheme. The platform is still in the redesign phase. Over the coming months there will be further engagement with voluntary groups, the successful applicant will be involved where appropriate.

General questions

What will be the process for asking any further questions?

Further questions after the webinar or feedback on the webinar are to be directed to the following mailbox:

What is the process for a stage 1 only application?

The committee will meet and assess the stage 1 application, and a decision will be made on whether the application will proceed. There will be some iteration after stage 1 to amend the application based on committee feedback, with a look to begin contracting shortly after.

What is the expected budget for the projects?

Full information on available budgets can be found in the research specifications.