SCIE minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees

Held on Thursday 9 September 2004, 11.00 - 16.30

1) Attendance

(Board): Jane Campbell (chair), Shokat Babul, Peter Beresford, Jon Glasby, Janet Lewis, Geraldine Macdonald, Diana McNeish, Terry Philpot, Roy Taylor, Gail Tucker.

Staff: Lisa Bostock (Staff Representative), Don Brand (Consultant), Amanda Edwards (Head of Knowledge Services), Robert Howells (Staff Representative Elect), Victoria McNeill (Head of Corporate Services & Company Secretary), Emma Brooks (minutes).

Also in attendance: Mike Fisher, Wendy Hardyman, Professor Sandra Nutley, Professor Janie Percy-Smith, Dr Isabel Walter (Agenda item 4: Knowledge Review 7); Pearl Sebastian (Agenda item 6: Finance Report); Rachel Arrundale, Head of Strategy at the Care Services Directorate, Department of Health (Agenda item 7: Care Services Development Initiative); Sara Lewis (Agenda item 8: Practice Partners); Gavin Nettleton and Sara Dunn (Agenda item 9: e-Learning).

Apologies: Ratna Dutt, Bill Kilgallon (Chief Executive) and Paul Martin.

Welcome and announcements:

SCIE staff were welcomed to the meeting.

The Board sent its best wishes to Bill Kilgallon for a speedy recovery.

It was suggested that future meetings commence at 11am, finishing at 4.30pm.

Action: Board members were asked to let Jane Campbell know if they had any comments on this.

2) Declaration of any other business

The updated "Forthcoming dates for the Board", 2 new SCIE publications - Guide 5: Teaching and Learning Communication Skills in Social Work Education and Sciedrive: a newsletter for the SCIE Parental Mental Health and Child Welfare Network - and copies of all the press releases since the last board meeting were distributed. Board members were asked to note the dates for future board meetings.

3) Minutes and matters arising

Minutes of the board meeting held on 3 June 2004 were approved by the trustees for signature.

Matters Arising:

Minute 4: Chair's Report:

The facilitator for the Board appraisal on 16 December would be Rosemary Jackson who has done a great deal of similar work with business, government and the voluntary sector, including facilitating the Board appraisal of the Employers' Forum on Disability.

Action: The Board were asked to send Jane Campbell any ideas they had for issues to be covered at the appraisal.

Minute 6: Dissemination Strategy:

An email group considering branding had been established, and the Board was represented by Terry Philpot, Jon Glasby and Peter Beresford.

Action: Any comments about branding should be sent to Victoria McNeill.

Minute 8: Participation Strategy:

The Participation Strategy was not tabled at this meeting as the external participation group had recommended that a number of changes be made.

Action: The Strategy would be presented at the next Board meeting.

It was agreed that, where possible, any papers provided for information would be sent to the Board in advance of Board meetings.

SCIE's response to the Department of Health (DH) consultation on the Vision and Framework for Adult Social Care had been written in light of the clear steer from the Board and had not been sent to the Board before being submitted due to the tight deadline for the consultation.

SCIE had had a palette of colours approved by Synergy and a group of service users were considering the accessibility of SCIE's new branding. Once the consultation has ended all the changes would be sent to the staff and board branding email group for approval. This was likely to be in mid-October.

4) Improving the use of research in social care: Knowledge Review 7

The Chair invited Wendy Hardyman to chair this item and congratulated the team for producing a very accessible publication.

The authors of Knowledge Review 7 were introduced to give a presentation on the findings of the research.

The knowledge review had five objectives to consider: how research is used in social care, the effectiveness of different ways of promoting research use, models of research use that include all groups in the social care workforce, implications for learning and human resource management and future directions for research and development.

The team had used 2 methods of research - a systematic literature review and consultation seminars and interviews. They considered how research is used in social care - how research reaches individuals and the uses to which research is put.

The study concluded that research use in social care needed more coordination and a varied approach to deal with the diversity of the social care field. There was also a need for more evaluation of what works in encouraging research use. A whole systems approach to taking forward research use in social care was required.

The recommendations were that the current activities and initiatives to promote research use should be considered; that an overarching framework for promoting and developing research use in social care should be created; and that initiatives to promote research use should be based on evidence.

Discussion of the presentation:

The study had found a dearth of information on the use of service user research which surprised the Board, particularly as service users place an emphasis on research being a vehicle for change. The authors noted that this was partly due to the brief to 'look at research which has been evaluated'.

If social care organisations were assessed or accredited on the basis of their use of research in practice this would encourage organisations to use research. The private sector would be a particularly hard area to encourage the use of research in practice, due to the size of its low skilled, low paid and temporary workforce. Commissioners could be crucial in requiring organisations to demonstrate they were putting research into practice. It was important that this was done as part of a whole-systems approach and developed in dialogue with all the key players.

Anxiety was expressed about the linear nature of the models which had been emphasised in the review. Wider models of human and organisational behaviour were more realistic, such as the organisational excellence model. However the review had only made recommendations if there had been evidence that particular methods worked, and there was currently little evidence or evaluation of the organisational excellence model.

Discussion of the review's implications for SCIE:

Amanda Edwards was invited to chair this discussion. SCIE wanted 3 priorities to provide a framework within which it could create its next work programme.

Concern was expressed that before a framework could be created SCIE would need to be clear about which research models it was attempting to use, and only then could it assess its impact. As many major developments have used service user research to change practice (even though this research had not been fully evaluated), there was a worry that the models considered in the review were not the ones that SCIE should be focusing on.

SCIE used different models according to the type of work it undertook, such as straight dissemination of eLSC, and collaborative work in the Practice Partners' Network. The whole systems approach was important as issues needed to be tackled at all levels at the same time.

SCIE needed to be practical and be explicit about what model or combination of models might be most effective, what type of change was desired and the political situation that SCIE operated within. SCIE should realise that it can't influence all practice but that some small changes can have a large impact.

It was suggested that SCIE could set up a demonstration project to create a model using SCIE materials, looking at the way knowledge based practice is used and considering the difficulties of working in that way for staff and service users.

SCIE must start demonstrating its impact, not just to government, but also to service users. Even if SCIE did not yet have a perfect structure for doing so it must start to consider impact.

It was agreed that the Board welcomed the whole-systems approach model and that in considering impact SCIE must be clear about what it was trying to measure in the first place.

5) Reports of Chief Executive and Chair:

5.1 Chair's Report

The Chair explained the systems which were in place to ensure SCIE's effective management in Bill Kilgallon's absence. A Leadership Team consisting of Jane Campbell, Amanda Edwards and Victoria McNeill, had been created and it had been decided not to have an interim Chief Executive. Gail Tucker would deputise for the Chair where necessary. The Board approved these decisions.

Bill Kilgallon was happy for people to know that he had undergone a serious, but successful, operation to remove a cancer. The Board recorded its best wishes for Bill.

Shokat Babul, Roy Taylor, Di McNeish and Ratna Dutt had all noted they were happy to be reappointed to the Board. Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Health & Social Services, National Assembly for Wales, had also recommended Shokat Babul for reappointment. All four would be reappointed for a further 3 years.

Paul Martin's term as Northern Ireland representative to the Board finishes in October. Jane Campbell had been asked to be on the interview panel for the new Northern Ireland trustee. Jane asked if another trustee would represent her, as it would be difficult for her to travel to Belfast in October.

Action: Trustees should email Jane Campbell if they were interested in representing her on the panel.

It had been agreed to postpone the Board meeting in Belfast until May 2005.

Jane Campbell and Bill Kilgallon had met with the new National Director for Social Care, Kathryn Hudson, who was keen to be involved with SCIE.

Jane Campbell had been invited to be on the interview panel for the Chief Nursing Officer. The panel would be chaired by Sir Nigel Crisp.

SCIE was due to hold 3 events which had attracted a great deal of interest: a seminar on Independent Living, a Children, Families and Human Rights seminar and a conference on Human Rights and Social Care.

SCIE's meeting with Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister for Community, had been postponed until October.

5.2 Chief Executive's Report (prepared and delivered on behalf of the Chief Executive by Amanda Edwards and Victoria McNeill)

Care Services Improvement Partnership

The Department of Health wanted to bring together the management of seven improvement agencies into a single Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) and integrate CSIP into SCIE. The seven agencies were: National Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Support Service, Integrated Care Network (ICN), Integrating Community Equipment Support Team (ICE), National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE), Health and Social Care Change Agent Team (CAT), Valuing People Support Team (VPST) and Change for Children (coming on-stream shortly).

SCIE was working hard to consider the implications for SCIE, including the possible consequences for Wales and Northern Ireland and the implications for SCIE's existing programmes of work. There were clear benefits for SCIE but also a number of areas where SCIE would need to look for safeguards.

Full information and clear proposals would be discussed at the Board meeting on 4 October.

Amanda Edwards was invited to present the Chief Executive's report.

Outcome of Arm's Length Bodies Review

The results of the review had been pleasing for SCIE as it had not been included in the review but instead had been held up as a recommended alternative organisational model.

Vision and Framework for Adult Social Care:

The work SCIE had done on the Vision was one aspect of SCIE's Looking to the Future work. Service users and practitioners were being consulted on the Vision via focus groups organised by SCIE's Looking to the Future project management team.

Topss England - Leadership and Management Strategy:

The Topss Leadership and Management Strategy provided a helpful context to SCIE's leadership work. SCIE's Board had been asked to endorse the statements.

It was agreed that the recommendations of the fuller report would be circulated to the Board and that a decision would be taken on whether the Board would endorse the statements at the next meeting.

Action: Victoria McNeill would circulate the recommendations.

6) Financial Report

Gail Tucker presented the draft audit committee minutes. The finance team were thanked for their work on preparing the accounts.

There was significant concern about the deficit in the SCIE pensions fund given by the pension scheme actuary. This assessed SCIE's deficit liability as £.991 million. This had led to a delay in the full accounts being presented to the Board until further inquiries had been made to establish the accuracy of the data.

If SCIE maintained a pensions deficit by the next financial year then a provision would need to be made for it in the balance sheet. SCIE would need to review its reserves, liabilities and pensions. This would probably occur at the February 2005 Board meeting.

It was noted that the SCIE staff were extremely concerned about the pensions deficit.

Pearl Sebastian was invited to present the rest of the paper:

She highlighted that although the Section 64 grant had remained the same, with no inflationary increase, SCIE had received additional restricted funds for the following projects: leadership, e-learning, CSDI and users and carers in social work education. SCIE had also received a slight rise in income from the Welsh Assembly. SCIE's projected income from Northern Ireland had not been included in the budget but would be included in the financial forecasts. The income was higher than had been budgeted. In future the Board would be presented with details of the income and expenditure for each restricted fund project.

7) Care Services Development Initiative

Rachel Arrundale, Head of Strategy at the Care Services Directorate, Department of Health, was welcomed to the meeting.

The partnership agreement between the Department of Health and SCIE for the Care Services Development Initiative was attached to the Board papers under matters arising.

Victoria McNeill and Amanda Edwards presented the paper.

The Care Services Development Initiative (CSDI) was part of a drive from the Department of Health, especially Antony Sheehan, Director of Care Services, to work on a partnership basis rather than in a sponsor/sponsoree arrangement. A great deal of time had been spent developing the framework so that any conflicts could be managed in the spirit of partnership. Much work had been done developing a shared understanding of the purpose of the CSDI: to create a vehicle to achieve greater integration of services in social care, improving the experiences of service users and improving the broader public's perception of social care.

An outline vision of what the CSDI wanted to achieve by 2007 had been created. Several projects that were already underway in SCIE and fitted into the CSDI objectives have been made part of the CSDI. Clear communication of the purpose of the CSDI with staff, the Board and external stakeholders would be crucial. A CSDI work programme had been drafted and would be discussed at the next Board work programme sub-group meeting.

The draft work programme had been grouped under themes and included SCIE's Practice Partners' Network under the theme of 'creating an integrated service improvement vehicle'; SCIE's Looking to the Future work under 'putting service users at the centre of social care and health services'; and SCIE's Parental Mental Health Network under 'Make a difference on the ground - perceptibly improving the experience of service users'. Theme 4 (Make a significant improvement to the public perception of social care) was currently empty, whilst theme 5 (Establish a new model of partnership working) currently had no SCIE input. There was still much to be done in putting service users at the heart.

Rachel Arrundale noted that the CSDI was part of Antony Sheehan's vision of working in new ways and held potential risks for the DH as well as for SCIE. The DH's work within the CSDI mainly focused on the CSIP and Vision and Framework. However it also included some smaller development work about how the DH works, including the outcomes of the change programme, a strategy for the directorate and delivery and performance.

Action: It was agreed that Theme 1's title 'Create an integrated service improvement vehicle' should be rewritten in plain English.

The ambitions of the CSDI appeared very broad, and perhaps should be put into two groups - improving the experience of service users and mechanisms for trying to achieve this.

Action: It was agreed that regular reports on the CSDI would be presented to the Board.

SCIE was accountable to service users in various ways but the DH needed to make itself accountable too.

Action: This would be fed back to the CSDI group.

8) Practice Partners' Network

Sara Lewis was invited to present the report on the Practice Partners' Network.

There were currently 26 organisations in the Network. The Network gave SCIE the opportunity to disseminate and test its work with frontline staff.

The Network had its own newsletter based on contributions from the partners and a website which enabled active communication amongst network members. By the end of October the partners will have met each other to share good practice at a Practice Partner day themed around participation. Partners were involved in several SCIE projects such as the fostering reference group, and responded to specific briefings.

Some members of the Network had financial difficulties in attending the meetings.

Action: SCIE would consider whether it could give assistance in the future, perhaps through the Big Lottery Fund.

Action: SCIE would publicise the Practice Partners' Network more widely, although the network would not be expanded at present. The Partners were members of the network for a 2-year period and the future membership of the group would be reviewed towards the end of this period.

9) e-Learning Strategy

Gavin Nettleton and Sara Dunn were invited to give a presentation on SCIE's e-learning strategy.

e-Learning could be targeted and very effective, and could be constructivist as well as instructivist if developed well. e-Learning could enable different styles of learning by using different media, for example audio components. SCIE's work on e-learning would be focused on user-centred development (in this context the user including staff, learning providers and service users).

A discussion paper on creating an e-learning strategy for social care in England had been developed between Topss and SCIE following discussions with external stakeholders in the field of e-learning. The paper would be launched at the National Social Services conference. The resulting document would become part of Topss e-learning strategy.

SCIE would work with e-learning experts to develop the e-learning software but would be responsible for developing content. It was important that service user involvement be part of the strategy from the start.

As much of the social care sector has little or no access to computers it was vital that SCIE emphasised the need for the resourcing of computers.

The DTI had a home computer initiative with tax breaks for small companies.

Action: SCIE would publicise this on its website.

10) Race Equality Seminar

Victoria McNeill presented this paper in Nasa Begum's absence.

The need for a race equality seminar had not been identified in SCIE's work programme. It was proposed that SCIE hold an expert seminar on the future of social care for black and minority ethnic people, focussing attention on the needs and wishes of black and minority ethnic people when considering social care practice.

It was proposed to invite around 50-70 people (the paper incorrectly stated 30 invitees) who would be able to consider race equality in social care. A series of think pieces on specific topics within specific areas would be commissioned and these would be developed into a publication. The seminar was seen as a major priority and it was suggested that it should be funded from the Board's Rapid Response fund.

The Board were concerned that the seminar might cover topics that had already been discussed. It was suggested that the seminar should concentrate on deciding what the key problems are and then focus on what social care should do about it. The issues that prevented organisations from effectively implementing proposals made in previous discussions about black and minority ethnic people and social care would need to be investigated. Key decision makers should be invited to ensure that decisions were made and the agenda would be taken forward. It was suggested that organisational experts should be invited too.

The Board agreed to support the proposal but the content of the seminar would need to be changed.

Action: Nasa Begum to reconsider the focus of the seminar.

11) Partners' Council Progress Report

Don Brand presented the progress report on the Partners' Council.

This report was part of the link between the Board and the Partners' Council. The Partners' Council had identified several interesting and challenging key themes covering social care issues and process issues in relation to the working of the Partners' Council.

The next Partners' Council meeting would need to demonstrate that SCIE was responding to the Partners' Council's criticisms. SCIE needed to engage with everyone but would need to negotiate with members so they acknowledged that there would need to be compromise, particularly over communication difficulties between different stakeholders.

The Board suggested that the Partners' Council identify a social care issue to be taken forward, for example service user best practice. At each meeting a question could be posed and a multi-method approach could be taken which SCIE would then bring together.

It was agreed that the Board would send a formal response to the Partners' Council acknowledging their paper.

Action: Nasa Begum would draft a response for Jane Campbell to sign.

12) Letter

A letter had been sent out to all the race equality councils in the UK, signed by Jane Campbell and Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, requesting nominations for a thirteenth trustee to increase the BME representation on our board and, if possible, attract African-Caribbean representation.

13) Next meeting

The next normal Board meeting would be held on 25 November 2004 at SCIE. An extraordinary Board meeting would be held on 4 October 2004 at SCIE.