Supporting local authorities to develop their research capacity
LARC, the Local Authority Research Consortium, was formed at the start of 2007. LARC2 (2008/9) continues the work of the consortium in seeking to support integrated working within localities and multi-agency teams. Through investigating the outcomes for children and young people that emerge as a result of engagement in the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) process, deeper insights can be obtained about the mechanisms that enable effective integration between targeted and universal services. Research into the CAF process will provide insights into the impact that integrated practice in children’s services has had on children and young people, on their families, on the professionals who worked with them and on the services themselves.
The LGA has funded an extension to the LARC research project to explore LA capacity to engage in and conduct research. This project will strengthen the picture presented by LARC authorities making serious, well-structured efforts to improve the operation of front-line, multi-agency working with the children who are engaged in the CAF process. This research project will explore LAs experiences of and capacity to engage in research focussing on their involvement in LARC and other research.
The broad aim of this research is to examine the support LAs require to develop their research capacity. More specifically, the research will:
- explore LAs experience/s of practitioner-led research
- examine the benefits of being involved in practitioner-led research (and specifically, LARC)
- examine the challenges associated with practitioner-led research
- provide detail of support needs (previous needs and possible further needs) for practitioner-led research
- explore examples of best practice in gathering LA research data.
Impacts and outcomes
A draft final report will be provided to LGA in early January 2010 detailing key findings from the interviews and would be finalised ready for dissemination with the LARC findings in early 2010. The report will support LAs that are seeking to develop their capacity to undertake research and authorities considering involvement in LARC.
Research design and methods
Building on work already underway through the LARC project, the first stage of this evaluation would be a basic analysis of a proforma sent to all LARC LAs asking about support they envisaged they would require to carry out their own research projects. Building on findings from the proforma and researcher experience of working with the LARC LAs, a list of LAs would be identified as possible participants for this study. The research will involve semi-structured telephone interviews with key LA staff (i.e. managers) in 15 LAs (half of the LARC LA consortium).
The main audience of this research would be LAs, LGA and the children’s trust community.