We are ‘Community Research’, so we, of all people, should be clear what we mean by ‘community’. When a client recently asked us what we mean by communities we took a step back to reconsider this important question.

According to the dictionary a community is a group of people who:

• live in the same place or;
• has characteristics or interests in common.
In recent years a new definition has come about:
• a space for collaborating or communicating online.

With regard to this last definition, when you think about it, wherever an online community exists, it is arguably… Continue reading

We wanted to share this excellent piece by Rhion Jones of the Consultation Institute, in response to the recent Referendum. Those of you who are already members of the Institute will have seen this in the form of a fortnightly Tuesday Topic.

Should we ask the question? – What can we learn from the EU Referendum?

We have always regarded a referendum as a form of a consultation – and the recent EU referendum has illustrated many of the pitfalls familiar to public engagement practitioners. The in/out question has many critics – unsurprisingly mostly from the losing side.… Continue reading

Using Research EvidenceWe have seen some useful free consultation and research resources recently, so we wanted to share them with you:

1) Nesta and the Alliance for Useful Evidence has produced a new guide Using research evidence – a practice guide. The publication has been designed to help improve the way people work by using evidence effectively.

2) Sciencewise has:

  • Recently piloted its Sounding Board tool which is used to gain rapid public input on challenging issues involving science and technology.
  • Piloted an event to understand whether one-off, public workshops could be a … Continue reading

MRS_wWe are delighted to announce that Community Research has just become an MRS Company Partner. Whilst we have always maintained the highest research standards we felt it was time to publicly commit to those standards. We hope our work speaks for itself, but now our clients along with the stakeholders and members of the public who contribute so much to our projects, can be further assured that we are adhering to the standards and guidance of the world’s leading research association.

In March 2016 the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) held its annual conference for health professions regulators in the rather grand setting of Windsor Great Park. The theme this year was ‘Regulating for Positive Outcomes’ and it was an opportunity for regulators to take some time away from day to day operational activity and take stock. Sessions included ‘revalidating for positive outcomes’, ‘turning negatives into positives’ and ‘using data for positive outcomes’. An overarching question was – what are regulators actually for and how well are they delivering?

We were particularly struck by a presentation by Tim Walker of the General… Continue reading

We were recently asked to design and facilitate a workshop for the University of Warwick as it is trying to find new ways to approach a longstanding and widespread problem in the sector. How can the current gender equality gap amongst academic staff be tackled? The University of Warwick – like most other UK universities – has a major issue with a lack of women in senior academic roles. The Times Higher Education supplement highlighted how extensive a problem this is in a survey a few years ago. Whilst almost half of academics in UK… Continue reading

Continuous engagement is, it seems, being talked about more and more and we therefore think that, as a concept, it is worth examining in more detail. As a starting point, the obvious question is: what do we mean by continuous engagement? In a forthcoming paper we have written for the Consultation Institute we described it as:

• Ongoing research and consultation rather than just engaging at critical moments.
• Engagement across multiple touchpoints.
• Ensuring that consumers, customers, citizens or patients are at the heart of an organisation’s culture and involving them at the earliest possible stage of idea development.… Continue reading

Consultation_wIn January this year the Government published a set of consultation principles, replacing the principles drawn up in 2012 and giving guidance to government departments on conducting consultations. In summary, these principles set out that a consultation:

• Should be clear and concise
• Should have a purpose
• Should be informative
• Is only part of a process of engagement
• Should last for a proportionate amount of time
• Should be targeted
• Should take account of the groups being consulted
• Should be agreed before publication
• Should facilitate scrutiny
• Government responses to consultations should be… Continue reading

NHS_England_Logo_wWe’re delighted to have been appointed to undertake some important qualitative evaluation work for NHS England. We are undertaking the qualitative elements of an evaluation of the palliative care development currency. The currency is being tested this year by 13 providers of palliative care, along with their commissioning bodies.

The use of currencies is well established in the NHS and is the basis of payment for the majority of acute care. A ‘currency’  in this context is a way of grouping patients’ healthcare needs into units that have broadly similar clinical and resource needs. The aim is to allow… Continue reading

We receive a lot of briefs (and we are very thankful for them!) but, naming no names, some are very good and very clear, while others leave a good deal to be desired. So, from a research agency point of view what are our top tips to get the most from the proposals you get back? Here’s what we most want to see from a good brief:

  • Give us some background: What does your organisation do? What are your current challenges? Also, is there any previous relevant research we should be aware of?