Peer-to-peer networking

What we want to achieve

We knew from our research to date that when practitioners need advice or guidance they are more likely to turn to their peers than to written research evidence. This led us to explore how we could work with this grain of behaviour and enable social workers to access a wider network of quality assured advice from a wide range of peers. Our initial hunch was that this could be supported by a digital platform.

Who we are working with

In order to test this idea, we sought to answer two key questions through our work with Cambridgeshire County Council:

  1. What are the questions that practitioners are actually asking?
  2. Is there appetite to use something digital? If so what are some of the important design considerations

What stage we are at now

We have worked with Cambridgeshire to test the appetite of social workers for a digital tool to seek advice from colleagues. We undertook one-to-one interviews to explore appetite and motivation. We also conducted diary studies to understand the nature of questions that social workers ask and how amenable these might be to a digital platform or tool.

We believe we validated that the behaviour that social workers tend to turn to their colleagues first - whether this is a peer or a superior or even someone in another local authority. However, we did not validate the hypothesis that social workers would use a more open and digital platform to connect with other practitioners. For this reason we would be reluctant to suggest continuing the idea.

What are the next steps

We have worked with Cambridgeshire to test the appetite of social workers for a digital tool to seek advice from colleagues. We undertook one-to-one interviews to explore appetite and motivation. We also conducted diary studies to understand the nature of questions that social workers ask and how amenable these might be to a digital platform or tool.

We believe we validated that the behaviour that social workers tend to turn to their colleagues first - whether this is a peer or a superior or even someone in another local authority. However, we did not validate the hypothesis that social workers would use a more open and digital platform to connect with other practitioners. For this reason we would be reluctant to suggest continuing the idea.

Who's involved

Development team

Research partner

Funders

Network