Below are a few recent client case studies, to give you a flavour of our work.

Case Studies

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General Medical Council
Research and Consultation

Community Research has supported the General Medical Council (GMC) on a wide range of consultation and research projects, including:

A staged research programme using both qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the experience of both doctors and complainants who have been through fitness to practise (FTP) procedures.

Qualitative research to supplement two consultations being undertaken by the GMC. The groups covered a range of stakeholders and were convened in a number of geographical locations around the UK. Community Research analysed the findings and produced a report which was used to supplement the findings from the formal consultations.

Research to supplement the findings of previously conducted quantitative research into doctors’ perceptions of the guidance published by the GMC. Three groups with doctors were held across the nations. The GMC’s Standards and Ethics Committee considered the findings of the research and made some recommendations as to how the organisation should respond.

Consultancy in relation to three separate formal GMC consultations. Community Research advised in broad terms whether: the consultation approaches used by the GMC were taken accord with good practice; the overall process was sufficiently inclusive, transparent and fair and the methods used provided an effective means of achieving the intended outcomes in the time available

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General Dental Council
An Online Panel and Qualitative Research

The General Dental Council (GDC), for the first time, commissioned a patient and public panel to provide a sustainable and regular method to hear the views of patients and the public, following the recommendations of the Francis and Keogh reports.

The overarching aims for the panel are to provide a permanent, flexible and cost effective method for the GDC for research and patient and public engagement; to establish a group of patients and the public whose knowledge and understanding of dentistry will grow over time to provide insight about public attitudes and perceptions of dental regulation and their experience of dentistry; and to provide an effective communications and engagement mechanism for the GDC with patients and the public.

Community Research, in partnership with Research Now, recruited a bespoke online panel of 5,000 patients and public from within Research Now’s existing, national ‘Valued Opinions’ Panel. Those recruited remain a part of the Research Now Panel but have been separately profiled and identified as GDC panellists.

In addition, Community Research was commissioned by the GDC to carry out depth interviews to help the GDC understand dental care professionals’ views and attitudes about raising concerns about their fellow healthcare professionals. The objective of the research was to identify the barriers which affect those who want to raise concerns, and the enablers which will help them to do so.

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General Pharmaceutical Council
Deliberative Research

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) undertook a formal consultation on its Draft Standards for Registered Pharmacies. Community Research was commissioned to provide input into a staff workshop to help staff prepare for the consultation; to design a 'toolkit' that could be used by other organisations (e.g. third sector, expert patient groups, LINks) who might want to run their own discussions about the consultation proposals, and to run a programme of deliberative events with the public and patients to explore views about specific elements of the consultation.

This represented the first time that GPhC had used a wide-ranging deliberative research process to inform its thinking in this way and the findings were used to directly inform its programme of work.

They have subsequently commissioned Community Research to use a deliberative workshop approach (reconvening some of the original panellists) to explore patient and public perceptions to specific policy areas on the following occasions:

  • Expectations and views of public reporting
  • Perceptions of changes relating to the supply of pharmacy medicines
  • Views of pharmacy performance and draft ratings system
  • Views of Indicative Sanctions Guidance

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General Osteopathic Council
Exploratory Qualitative Research

The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) commissioned Community Research to undertake some first stage exploratory qualitative research with members of the general public and osteopathic patients in order to: explore perceptions and expectations of the profession and levels of knowledge of and trust in osteopathy; ascertain information needs and what information might be sought by those becoming a patient of an osteopath; explore expectations of the experience of being a patient of an osteopath; explore relative perceptions of professionalism and quality of care as compared to other healthcare providers and ascertain levels of awareness of regulation of osteopathy (particularly around protection from harm) and the response to the existence of the GOsC and the GOsC’s role.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Review and Scoping Report about Online Panels

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was considering developing the use of an online panel to engage consumers in its policy and delivery work. They commissioned Community Research to provide some desk research and consultancy work to provide an objective view of the possible merits in using an online approach to its engagement work. Community Research was asked to review the FSA’s current public engagement practice and provide input to the organisation’s thinking regarding possible future use of online panels. Following this the decision was made by the FSA to go ahead with an online consumer panel programme and this has been running ever since.

A voice for consumers: making sure consumers are heard as solutions are developed to create a fairer energy market

The Ofgem Consumer First Panel brings together around 80 energy consumers from across Great Britain to deliberate on key energy issues and policy. Panellists and locations are refreshed every year. In 2016, we were chosen to run the latest round of workshops, which covered a range of topics, including uncovering consumer views on the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) recommended package of remedies designed to increase engagement in the market.

Putting consumers at the heart of energy supply

As the independent energy regulator, Ofgem exists to ensure energy users get a fair deal in a complex and competitive market. To make sure consumers remain at the heart of everything it does, Ofgem needs to understand the experiences and attitudes of consumers. Which is why, since 2007, feedback from the Consumer First Panel has been invaluable in helping to ensure the consumer voice is heard in Ofgem’s policy-making process. 

Community Research’s was commissioned to run the Consumer First Panel in 2016/17 to explore the consumer response to a range of current issues and potential solutions, with a view to ensuring consumers could engage with, and get a good deal from the energy market.

Gathering opinions that have the power to change policy

The Ofgem Consumer First Panel research was designed to encourage Panellists to gain a greater understanding of current energy-related issues via a deliberative process that gathers a wide range of perspectives. Participants were recruited to represent a spread of individual and demographic characteristics, including gender, ethnicity, age and location, and featured a variety of energy-usage profiles.

Over the sessions, Community Research facilitated whole-group and small-group discussions, presenting facts and figures relating to the energy markets, especially with regard to the low uptake of consumer switching. Panellists completed questionnaires before and after deliberations to monitor if, and how, views changed over the course of the sessions. Some workshops were filmed and a short video produced, combining footage with ‘vox pops’ of Panellists from all sessions.

Exploring barriers and potential remedies

The widespread mistrust of energy suppliers was evident from the start of discussions. There was a general consensus that there are a number of barriers that make it challenging for customers to engage with the market overall. The use of multiple workshops enabled researchers to drill down into specific topic areas during each session to deliver more focussed results. Recommendations provided allowed Ofgem with a clear understanding of the potential impact on consumer behaviours and attitudes, to feed into the policy thinking and design of the engagement remedies.  

‘The Consumer First Panel is an important piece of Ofgem’s insight toolkit. It allows us to get beneath the skin of what’s important to everyday energy consumers.’

 Adam Knight, Senior Consumer Insight Practitioner