Research Project Advisory Group seek Commissioner in the South East

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Uncovering the staff culture of good quality supported accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities”

This research study is funded by the School for Social Care Research (SSCR) and is being carried out by Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Dr Jill Bradshaw and Lisa Richardson from the Tizard Centre, University of Kent in collaboration with Prof Christine Bigby from the Living with Disability Research Centre, La Trobe University Australia.

If you are a commissioner with responsibility for commissioning services or support for people learning disability or autism in the South East and are interested in being part of the advisory group for this study, please contact Julie Beadle-Brown ( We anticipate 4 meetings of the advisory group over the 2 years of the project. Meetings will be held in London.

Background and Aims: Through the use of ethnographic and action research methods, Bigby et al in Australia have begun to conceptualise the informal culture of group homes. Currently the conceptualisation developed by Bigby et al has only been explored in poor and some better homes; as such there is a need to explore how well the framework applies to services that are providing skilled support delivering good quality of life outcomes for the people they support. Understanding staff culture in such settings will support the development of approaches to changing the culture in services and thus potentially improving quality of life outcomes.

Methods: The research will employ the following methods:

  • Structured observations and staff completed measures to confirm the needs, characteristics and quality of life of the people supported and the quality of staff support provided
  • A researcher conducting participant observations in three different supported accommodation settings over a 12 month period.
  • Naturalistic and more formal interviews with staff and managers.
  • Review of organisational documents, policies, procedures and mission statements.
  • Interviews with senior management to establish their views of culture in supported accommodation settings and the wider organisation.

There will be three organisations taking part, each providing one supported accommodation setting for the focus of the research.

Analysis of field notes from participant observations and data collected from each organisation/setting will form three case studies. By including the multiple case studies from the work in Australia we will be able to look across all them all to determine the dimensions of culture for supported accommodation settings providing a range of outcomes.

Timeline and progress: We have ethical approval from the Social Care Research Ethics Committee and the project is starting to recruit services.  The fieldwork will take place over 12 months from January 2016.  During the final 9 months, the three case studies will be compared and implications for the conceptualisation of culture and its impact on the outcomes of people supported will be identified.



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