In preparation for the implementation of the Research Governance Framework (RGF) in Social Care, the Department of Health carried out Baseline Assessment surveys of all Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (CSSRs) in 2002 and 2005. The aim was to map research activity within CSSRs in England and to find out how they were preparing to meet the requirements of the RGF. The 2005 survey received completed questionnaires from 94 councils, a response rate of 64 per cent. A full report on the findings is in preparation. This paper sets out some first outline results.

Councils carry out a great variety of social research. Among the councils responding to the 2005 survey, 77 per cent said that research was carried out by in-house staff, 69 per cent reported research being carried out by external researchers, and 59 per cent reported research by students.

There has been considerable progress since the first Baseline Assessment Survey was carried out in 2002. Some key comparative findings were:

  • Half of all CSSRs (54 per cent) have a system to ensure that all staff are aware of the RGF, while another 36 per cent plan to have such a system in place by the end of 2005 (compared with 8 per cent making staff aware of the RGF in 2002).
  • Half of all CSSRs (49 per cent) record all research centrally, while another 35 per cent plan to do so by the end of 2005 (compared with 33 per cent in 2002).

External research, involving externally employed researchers and external funding, was the focus of the first stage of the DoH Implementation Plan for Social Care. The results of the 2005 survey showed that this was an area where councils had made the greatest progress. In particular:

  • 46 per cent have a system to ensure a sponsor for all external research (with another 31 per cent planning to have a system in place by the end of 2005).
  • 39 per cent have a system in place for independent expert review of ethics of external research (another 32 per cent planning for a system by the end of 2005).
  • 36 per cent have a system to ensure independent review of research methods of external research (another 36 per cent plan for a system by the end of 2005).
  • 40 per cent have a system to ensure that all relevant staff are notified about research taking place (another 38 per cent plan for this by the end of 2005).


Contact details The Baseline Assessment Surveys were carried out by Professor Jan Pahl and Jane Dennett, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF.
Tel: 01227 827563. Email: J.M.Pahl@kent.ac.uk The survey was carried out from July to Sept 2005; this outline paper was produced in October 2005.