Day two of the 2018 International Gambling Conference, Auckland, New Zealand

Researcher Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 2018 International Gambling Conference held from 12 February to 14 February. This is the second of three posts Stephanie is filing from the conference. (326 words)

Day two of the International Gambling Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, began with a Pacific welcome from the Dominion Road Tongan Methodist Church Youth Group.  The group performed a song whose message was to ‘say no to gambling, yes to family’.

The day’s keynote address was given by Prof. Rebecca Cassidy (Goldsmiths, University of London). Rebecca shared research that she had conducted in London betting shops. She had trained as a cashier and worked in two betting shops for 6 months. During that time she heard about cases of violence, armed robbery and the potential dangers faced by betting shops staff who sometimes work alone. However, such incidents were rarely reported to police, and staff were often not offered any support or counselling. Continue reading

Flipping the iceberg on gambling harm, mental health and co-existing issues – at the 2018 International Gambling Conference in Auckland, New Zealand

Researcher Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 2018 International Gambling Conference on Monday 12 February to Wednesday 14 February 2018. This is the first of three posts from the conference. (784 words)

This biennial event was held at the Auckland University of Technology and was an informative three-day conference, this year focusing on flipping the iceberg on gambling-related harm, mental health and co-existing issues. In this blog post I report on day one’s content.

Attendees were encouraged to “join the family” and embrace the notion of family during the conference. The conference was opened by Mana Whenua Matua Bob Hawke who gave us a Maori welcome before Paula Snowden, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, welcomed delegates. Continue reading

Social care recruitment and retention – the sector speaks

Facing the facts, shaping the future, the Department of Health & Social Care and Skills for Care adult social care workforce consultation, focuses on a number of workforce challenges specific to the adult social care sector: attracting and recruiting into the workforce; improving retention; how to improve professional development; the role of regulation, and ensuring effective workforce planning. The consultation runs from 20 February to 9 April 2018. 

In light of the launch of this consultation we are re-posting this recent piece by Jo Moriarty, Jill Manthorpe and Jess Harris in which the authors introduce their report on the topic (first published 1 February 2018). (663 words)

Recruitment and retention reportHigh turnover rates among people working in social care are troubling. Both getting and keeping staff are difficult. Experts often talk about what needs to be done to make sure that the right people with the right values are there to support people needing care. New insights into possible solutions to care recruitment and retention problems are reported today in a report from King’s College London. The researchers turned to the workforce themselves to ask what needs to be done. One hundred and forty people working in different jobs or with different experiences of social care discussed what needs to change in areas such as pay, competition between employers, and work pressures. Subjects covered included better organisation of locum working, ensuring zero hours contracts are fair, and that people who are part of the ‘gig economy’, where people are called on to work only when necessary, enjoy this flexibility rather than find it anxiety-making. Continue reading

Campaigning for more Dementia Care at Home – a carer’s call

U Hla Htay is a former carer of his wife with dementia. Email: uhlahtay9@gmail.com (964 words)

I am involved in many research studies as someone with experience as a family carer. In this role I have come to understand that practitioners in health and social care can limit some of the negative effects of family caregiving on carers’ health. Some of them can use interventions such as therapy to increase family carers’ physical health and spiritual well-being. Improving carer well-being and increasing our ability to care for our family members is likely to increase quality of life for both carers and our family member (World Health Organization, 2012).

Mittelman and colleagues (2007) found managing the care of a relative with dementia is very lonely, time consuming and difficult, nevertheless, most of the family members they interviewed said they would prefer to keep their spouses at home with them for as long as possible. In my view the quality of life of both someone with dementia and family carers is generally better at home. These aspirations are achievable but come with a cost in human terms and financial terms. Most people with dementia want to remain living independently in their own homes as long as possible and to have a good quality of life and end of life. I am pleased to be supporting the new NIDUS (New Intervention for independence in Dementia) Study (being conducted by Claudia Cooper and colleagues) which is being funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.¹ The Social Care Workforce Research Unit is a partner in this study with other universities. Continue reading

“Not good enough, CQC”

John Burton, a social care consultant and writer, gives his personal response to the recent Safeguarding Adults Review on Mendip House. John is the author of Leading Good Care, JKP, 2015 and What’s wrong with CQC?, Centre for Welfare Reform, 2017. (973 words)

I’ve been reading the safeguarding review of Mendip House, a care home for adults with autism in Somerset. (Safeguarding Adults Review. Mendip House by Margaret Flynn, January 2018.) The home was owned and managed by The National Autistic Society (NAS), regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the residents were placed there by local authority commissioners from all over the UK but none from Somerset itself.

Mendip House has been described as “Winterbourne View without the cameras”: a thuggish gang of staff assaulted, taunted, and stole from the residents; managers were weak and complicit. Whistleblowers told the CQC and the senior management of The NAS, but—as at Winterbourne View—they were repeatedly ignored or fobbed off. The NAS made ineffectual internal investigations but did not alert the CQC or the local safeguarding service as they should have done. The placing authorities failed to monitor the care, safety and welfare of their residents, or whether the high fees were value for money. Whistleblowers left while the perpetrators of the abuse were ticked off but remained in post. In other words, no one did their job properly or considered the residents who remained at the mercy of a horrible regime. Continue reading

Why we need to pay more attention to student funding in social work education

Jo Moriarty is Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit. The report on the social work bursary, published today, is available free to download. (604 words)

There has been a large rise in the volume of social work research undertaken in the UK over the past 20 years but one topic remains stubbornly under researched: student funding in social work education. This is all the more surprising when we remember the attention given to tuition fees in the last three general elections.

In June 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care Policy Research Programme commissioned the Social Care Workforce Research Unit to undertake a short review of the social work bursary.

We had already done a similar piece of work so we had not expected to uncover a large research evidence base. However, it still seems surprising that there is so little research on social work students finances given that many social work students are drawn to social work after being in care or experiencing discrimination or poverty. Continue reading

Telecare webinar for Research in Practice for Adults at Dartington Hall

John Woolham is Senior Research Fellow at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in the Policy Institute at King’s. John leads a seminar on Wednesday 21 February 2018: Telecare for older people: are we getting the best out of it? (1,347 words)

Read the report: The UTOPIA project. Using Telecare for Older People In Adult social care: The findings of a 2016-17 national survey of local authority telecare provision for older people in England.

RiPfA, and its sister organisation, Research in Practice (RiP) work primarily with local authorities to encourage the use of evidence based practice. As someone who has a local authority background and has always been keen on promoting the use of good quality evidence, the opportunity to take part in a RiPfA organised event wasn’t one to pass up on.  It was also the first time I’d led a webinar. It’s definitely odd being in what’s effectively a studio, with a computer screen containing a clock (so you don’t overrun) your power point presentation, and a video of you as a ‘talking head’ – pretty much the same thing as participants see. You can’t see them of course, but they can send you messages.  What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot, actually. The fact that it didn’t owed much to the skills of Leo Heinl from RiPfA who managed the technology. Leo is a fellow ‘biker too, so we talked motorcycles a bit, but that’s another story. Continue reading

Young people and gambling in changing times: implications, risks and harms?

Caroline NorrieStephanie BramleyResearchers Caroline Norrie (right) and Stephanie Bramley from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at the Policy Institute at King’s College London attended the 5th annual Harm-Minimisation Conference on Wednesday 6 December and Thursday 7 December 2017. (1,233 words)

GambleAware, the charity funded by gambling operators to fund treatment services, education and research to help minimise gambling-related harm in Great Britain, held its annual conference at The King’s Fund, London in December. This was a jam-packed two days of speakers and this year the focus was on two issues: 1) gambling and the implications for young people, and 2) gambling and sport. In this blog post we focus on the first subject, but a summary of content relating to gambling and sport is in GambleAware’s own conference report. Continue reading

Advancing the case for independent advocacy

Kath Parson is Chief Executive of the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance. (486 words)

Here at the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL) we’re focused on getting word out about the benefits of independent advocacy. Advocacy supports and enables people who have difficulty representing their interests, to exercise their rights, express their views, explore and make informed choices. We have lots of great data from our Cancer, Older People and Advocacy programme and other project work as well as from our members about the positive impact advocacy has on older people’s lives. Continue reading

Wandsworth Adult Safeguarding Conference – Modern Slavery and Partnership Working

Caroline NorrieCaroline Norrie is Wandsworth Enter and View Representative and Researcher, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, KCL. (612 words)

Public sector practitioners from across the Borough came together on 27 November, 2017 at the annual Wandsworth Safeguarding Conference – Working in Partnership, which took place in Wandsworth Civic Centre Town Hall.

The morning was dedicated to raising awareness of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. Attendees were informed about the high prevalence of modern slavery—the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons. Trafficking was defined as: the movement of people by means such as force, fraud or deception with the aim of exploiting them.

Tatiana Gren Jardan, Director of Strategy at the Office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, discussed the role of local authorities in fighting modern slavery—and how staff may be able to identify cases in their everyday work. Tamara Barnett, from the Human Trafficking Foundation, then outlined the duties professionals have in identifying and supporting victims. Since the passing of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 specified public authorities (including Local Authorities) have a duty to report details of suspected cases of modern slavery to the Home Office. The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) framework can then be used (if an adult victim consents) with offering 45 days ‘reflection and recovery’ time for a victim to receive appropriate support. Continue reading