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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?

We have been following recent developments in the water sector with great interest. Regulators and representative organisations have all been actively considering what worked well in terms of customer engagement during the 2014 price review and, more importantly, what lessons can be learnt and applied to the next price review in 2019. There certainly were a lot of good things to report, not least the fact that, according to Ofwat, there were conversations with a quarter of a million people!

We attended a seminar recently convened by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) to brief the sector on the findings of… Continue reading

Research and engagement, as we know it, faces a number of challenges over coming years. Big changes are being created by a combination of the impact of ‘big data’, the rising use of passive monitoring, DIY research tools and waning respondent attention spans. We’re taking a look into our crystal ball at what all this might mean over the coming year and beyond.

There has been a recent explosion of data – according to a recent estimate from Google, we’ve generated 90% of all data in the entire history of the world in just the past two years. 2.5 quintillion… Continue reading

As researchers we believe (of course) in the value of independent research. Actions you take and policies you adopt may have clear objectives and intended consequences, but do you always know what the true impact is on your audiences? Internal data may not be sufficient to give you the answer and the following recent example of our work shows how wider and unintended impacts can be uncovered through careful and sensitive research.

We recently conducted a research study with doctors and employers of doctors. All the doctors who took part had been given a warning or had restrictions placed on… Continue reading

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