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Cross-cutting Theme 8: Social Care

Social Care

The Adult Social Care Theme of the WM ARC leads research studies of importance to people who access social care services and those who plan and deliver social care services. This includes local authorities, independent social care providers, and voluntary and community organisations. The Theme supports other research themes within the WM ARC to undertake projects that are relevant to social care through providing expertise and guidance. Our key partners include ADASS WM, WM Social Work Teaching Partnership, SCIE, Research in Practice and Skills for Care.

Social care services have been defined by the National Institute for Health Research as the provision of personal and practical care and support that people may need because of their age, illness, cognition, disability or other circumstances. It also includes support for family members or other unpaid carers. Important aims are to help people remain independent, retain their dignity and achieve a better quality of life. Another important aim is to safeguard vulnerable individuals from abuse and neglect.

Care and support are provided in a number of settings: in residential and nursing homes, in people’s own homes (domiciliary or ‘home’ care) and in other community settings such as day centres. There are also various accommodation settings, such as sheltered housing, extra-care housing, supported living and Shared Lives schemes. Social workers and other staff carry out assessments, provide information and coordinate activities to back up this service provision.

Theme lead

Professor Robin Miller
University of Birmingham


Objectives: Short term

· To engage with social care stakeholders in the West Midlands to raise the profile of research and facilitate dialogue about priorities, dissemination and learning

· To develop collaborations with other social care research teams and programmes in the West Midlands

· To work with other Applied Research Collaborations in relation to national research questions for adult social care

Objectives: Long Term

· To complete research exploring the implementation of strength based practice in adult social care

· To explore the role of leadership within adult social care and social work

Latest updates

Leadership and Social Work in the UK: Valuing its Potential

A report written in partnership with BASW (the professional association for social work and social workers), on leadership and social work in the UK has now been published. You can download it hereLink opens in a new window.

Leadership & Social Care: Building On Our Strengths

Prof Robin Miller, theme lead, gave a talk at the Global Bridges Conference in Karolinska Institute, Sweden based on work done through ARC WM. Slides are available hereLink opens in a new window.

Pulse Oximetry in Care Homes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A recent evaluation looked at the use of pulse oximetry (which uses a portable device to measure blood oxygen saturation level) in care homes during COVID-19. An infographic has been produced by the research team, showcasing the findings of the evaluation, and can be viewed at: opens in a new window.

Strengths-Based Practice in Adult Social Care During COVID-19: Insights From Practice Reviews in the West Midlands

A report examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on strengths-based practice is now available hereLink opens in a new window.