Simple but not simplistic: a co-productive and appreciative research project

Co-production in action  

‘Simple but not Simplistic – Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP)’ is a collaborative action research and development project involving the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the All Wales Academic Social Care Research Collaboration (ASCC), the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) in Scotland and a number of social care agencies and local authorities in Wales and Scotland.

Both IRISS and ASCC have a strong focus on the use of research evidence in social care service and workforce development. In Wales, this work is being led from Swansea University, where the Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) project was established in 2013, to develop, pilot and evaluate a distinctive Welsh approach to the ‘making research count’ agenda with a particular focus on older people’s services.

The ‘Simple but not Simplistic’  project is using a range of evidence in service and workforce development to promote and support ‘A Better Life’ for older people with high support needs, with a strong focus on bringing together, older people, carers, frontline staff, agency managers and researchers in a co-productive and appreciative process.

There are five Welsh and one Scottish site, focusing on a range of activities, including:
. Redefining ‘professional boundaries’ to support relational practice
. Developing a rights-based approach to risk management with people who are living with dementia
. Developing meaningful activities in care homes and day services
. Rethinking the provision of short breaks for carers and the people they support to better support interdependent caring relationships
. Co-production with older people, carers and people living in local neighbourhoods

For further details contact Nick Andrews –

Related item:

The importance and value of volunteering in care homes has been discussed in the JRF project work. The following Department of Health-funded project in England is exploring how to enable this.

“The Volunteering in Care Homes Project is running a series of regional learn and share events to present the evaluation findings to date. The purpose of these events is to pull out the good practice in volunteer recruitment and selection for the volunteering opportunities the project has developed.

This is particularly relevant in the light of the new regulatory framework for care homes where one of the characteristics of a good “responsive” rating of a care home is where, “The service protects people from the risks of social isolation and loneliness and recognises the importance of social contact and companionship. The service enables people to carry out person-centred activities within the service or in the community and encourages them to maintain hobbies and interests. The service has good links with the local community.”

Engaging volunteers to support residents to take part in social activities is an example of how care homes can achieve this rating.

The project is in its second year and recruits volunteers to roles that support residents to maintain their hobbies and interests. Whilst it aims to explore the impact of these roles on both the residents’ well-being and community relations, it will also identify the good practice that underpins successful volunteering in care homes.

For further information and to book a place at an event near you, please go to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)’s Volunteering Events page. (