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“Inspiring different teams to work together is key to the successful leadership of any integrated health and social care system (ICS). However, little is known about how effective leadership can be supported and improved.

In England, ICSs are bringing together local NHS services and working with social care systems, local authorities, communities, and other groups, each with their own motivations. Leaders of ICSs therefore may be managing several professional teams with different goals and accountabilities. The challenges are not the same as in managing a team of professionals working towards a single goal.

ICSs are being rolled out across the UK and will soon be the new model of healthcare delivery. They are designed to put the person at the centre of their care. But there is little research on how leadership works (the mechanisms of leadership), and what makes it successful.

Research into successful leadership in health and social care mostly focuses on single teams and their tasks. This new study explored leadership of complex integrated teams and systems across health and social care. Working with a range of service providers and users, carers and researchers, the team reviewed the published evidence. They identified 10 mechanisms (such as balancing different perspectives, or working appropriately with power) which could influence the success of ICS leadership.

The researchers then searched for papers which either did or did not support the importance of these mechanisms. This allowed them to describe the influence of these mechanisms on ICS leadership.

Overall, the researchers said there was a lack of evidence on ICS leadership. Most studies referred to simple models of leadership and did not explore more complex teams and systems. They generally assumed the necessary skills for leadership are the same. The researchers argue that this assumption is not valid and that more research is needed to understand how to successfully lead ICSs.”

To read more on this topic click here

Pre-Submission Review Panels are held monthly. Documents for each Panel will need to be submitted to us by 9am on either 14 February, 07 March, 18 April or 16 May 2022. If you would like your project to be reviewed, please email us as soon as possible (as availability for reviews is limited) and at least one week before the above dates to register your interest:

Please see the RDS South Central Pre-Submission Review Panel page for more information.

“Engaging in research is vital in addressing questions that arise in health and social care, producing new evidence and research to improve patient care. This is the third webinar in the Activating Research series, presented by NIHR ARC North Thames Academy, which are inspired by our Becoming Research Active in-person workshop.

This webinar is intended as an introduction to research planning and the support available. Our invited speakers will give three short presentations followed by a Q&A session:

Dr Jessica Sheringham will provide an overview of the NIHR ARC North Thames and the role of the Research Partnership Team (RPT) in the collaboration in designing responsive applied research.

Dr Peter Lovell will explain the assistance available to researchers from the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) London through the various stages of research design and funding applications

Adeeba Asghar and Robert Pleass of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) North Thames will discuss the support available for delivering studies with the CRN in the North Thames region and the workplace development opportunities available.”

Thursday 20 May 2021, 11am-12pm

To register click here

The National Institute for Health Research are funding exciting new pre-doctoral opportunities for Local Authority and LA commissioned service based individuals.

“This pilot scheme is being designed, alongside a companion pre-doctoral fellowship scheme, to support individuals based in local authorities or local authority commissioned services to develop as health and/or social care researchers.
The scheme will fund individuals of any profession to obtain a PhD by research whilst concurrently developing their professional skills within their existing employment.
Although full details have yet to be formalised, this scheme will be fully salaried and mirror the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme’s doctoral scheme. Prospective applicants should refer to the applicant guidance documentation for that scheme in the interim, ignoring the ICA specific eligibility criteria that pertain to professional status and clinical (as opposed to broader professional) practice.
Eligibility for support will be dependent on a proposal that includes a partnership with, or employment by, a local authority or local authority commissioned service.
This new funding represents a completely new and exciting opportunity for all individuals based within local authorities or local authority commissioned services, but especially for those without social worker or clinician status. Local authority associated clinicians and social workers are welcome to apply for support from this focussed scheme or from the ICA Programme, but cannot apply to both concurrently.”

Indicative timescales

Application forms available: 1 March 2021
Deadline for application submission: Late April 2021
Award uptake by successful applicants: From 1 April 2022
For more information click here

“The NIHR Doctoral Fellowship funds individuals from a range of health and social care professions to undertake a PhD in an area of NIHR research.

The Fellowship funds:

  • full salary support, including protected time to concentrate on research
  • PhD fees and research costs
  • a bespoke training and development programme to meet individual needs

Applicants from clinical or social care practice are able to include up to 20% clinical time as part of the Fellowship, to ensure the maintenance of their clinical competence whilst undertaking the Fellowship.

Full details of the remit of research funded by the NIHR and eligibility criteria can be found in the guidance notes.”

Click here for more details

“The NIHR Advanced Fellowship funds post-doctoral individuals from a range of health and social care professions who haven’t yet been awarded a chair. Whether you are someone who has recently been or about to be awarded a PhD, or someone with several years of post-doctoral experience, you could be eligible to apply for an Advanced Fellowship.
The Fellowship funds:
  • full salary support, including protected time to concentrate on research
  • research costs
  • a bespoke training and development programme to meet individual needs
Applicants who are active clinicians or social workers can request for up to 40% of their time to be dedicated to clinical service/development/practice, which will be covered by the Fellowship.
Full details of the remit of research funded by the NIHR and eligibility criteria can be found in the guidance notes.”
Click here for more details

The next Home Care Research Forum (HCRF) meeting will take place on Wednesday 25th November 2pm – 3.30pm. This will be a virtual forum using Zoom. 

“The following speakers are presenting at this event: 

  • Dr Tushna Vandrevala & Dr Emma O’Dwyer (Kingston University) – Job satisfaction and well-being for live-in carers: Why we need to start thinking about their personal identity
  • Alex Thomas and Diana Jablonskyte (Saint Michael’s Hospice) – Hospice at home service

This event is free and open to all, however, booking is essential. If you would like to attend please e-mail  to book a place and receive the Zoom link.”

Please tweet using #hcrf @adalinecole

New findings from a study exploring whether people with an intellectual disability are becoming less eligible for services in the age of austerity show that “Over 40% of people with learning disabilities lost care and support over the past decade as a result of cuts to social care funding.”

Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones and colleagues at the University of Kent, Tizard Centre, analysed the impact of austerity on the lives of people with learning disabilities. The NIHR funded study “highlights ‘significant challenges’ in terms of cuts to services and support which arose for those with learning disabilities since 2008.”

By “mapping the experiences of cuts to services introduced in 2008 for 150 people with learning disabilities the research team found:

  • 42% reported they had lost care.
  • 14% reported that their care had changed – but not reduced.
  • 36% reported their care had stayed the same.
  • 7% said their care had improved.

Most significantly, they found that those who had lost care were engaging in significantly fewer activities. These individuals scored lower on the Quality of Life index, which measures individual wellbeing, and had significantly lower self-esteem. Three quarters (74.8%) of the sample also scored highly for having ‘clinically significant’ anxiety.

Overall those who had lost care reported a reduction in daily activities – experienced particularly when day centres closed. They also reported an increased likelihood of feeling lonely or bored as well as a general loss of aspirations for their future.”

To access the full report please click here


The IDEAL programme is led by REACH at the University of Exeter.  It explores people’s experiences of living well with dementia by completing interviews made up of multiple questionnaires with people living with dementia across Great Britain. The IDEAL programme has been running since 2014 and will continue until 31st December 2022.

In response to Covid-19  the IDEAL programme have produced new guidance as part of a major project to support people with dementia and family carers who are facing isolation and reduced services.

‘A new leaflet features five simple tips, developed using the latest robust research and with the input of people affected by dementia. The leaflet is part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), in a project led by the University of Exeter and the NIHR Older People and Frailty Policy Research Unit, with partners including Alzheimer’s Society, Manchester University, Bradford University, Brunel University London and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South-West Peninsula (PenARC).

The leaflet is the first output of an ongoing project to support people living with dementia and their carers through the COVID-19 global health emergency. The project recognises that people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to the psychological and social impacts of isolation and lockdown. The project takes into account the concerns expressed by people with dementia through partner networks such as Alzheimer’s Society, Innovations in Dementia and the DEEP network. They are describing concerns about maintaining supplies of food and medications, anxiety about what would happen if they were admitted to hospital, lack of confidence, feelings of loss and grief, increases in symptoms like agitation, and a more rapid decline in cognitive and functional ability.’

To access the leaflet click here


CRN Connect issue 288 provides COVID-19 quick links and Urgent Public Health Research Studies for COVID-19 amongst. For more details click on  CRN Connect issue 288