A social care based evaluation of COVID-19: Understanding workforce response and effects (The SECURE Study)

Project Details


A Social care-based evaluation of COVID-19: Understanding workforce response and effects (the SECURE study)

What are we trying to do?
This study is about the impact of COVID-19 on adult social care and social work services in England. The programme of research is initially being conducted in Greater Manchester with a view to extending some elements of the work to other regions in future.

The aims of the study are to:
Explore and understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on practitioners and organisations providing social work and social care to adults

Describe and measure the medium and long term effects of acute and unexpected changes in the legislative, policy and work environment on social care, including:
Practice and service delivery
People with lived experience

Why is it important?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made increasing demands on the adult social care sector whose remit, scope and forms of service delivery are complex. Understanding the acute, medium and long-term effects of and responses to COVID-19 will help to inform decision making and optimise organisational responses to further waves of the disease, and mitigate any negative long-term effects on organisations, adult social work and social care staff and services. Equally, this study will identify positive gains in terms of working practices and innovation in service delivery that has been stimulated by current working conditions, and the actions required to sustain them.

How are we doing it?
The study will adopt a mixed-methods approach, including:

An online survey (time 1):
a stratified sample representing the complexity of the sector

questions including: strategy, organisation, practice, social demography, ethnicity, work demography, work related factors (burnout, sickness absence); Covid-19 related factors; individual well-being

GM routinely collected adult social care data:
routine data typically includes e.g. workforce vacancies, referral numbers, response times, statutory assessment/review processes, expenditure data and social care-related quality of life (taken from user and carer surveys)

the purpose is to look at patterns of service demand and response, service delivery changes, economic, resource and workforce impacts as well as additional COVID-specific data

data will be collected and analysed over several time points including a pre-COVID period to establish baseline data against which changes from future time points will be compared

Qualitative study:
semi-structured interviews with-

a sub-sample of those who completed the survey

purposive sample of leaders and managers of social work and social care organisations

A second online survey:
we will refine the second survey informed by initial survey responses (time 1), secondary data analysis and qualitative analysis

the second survey will capture data from individuals who did not complete the initial survey (time 1)
Standards instruments will also be utilised as part of the study, e.g. Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMBS) to assess global wellbeing, the EuroQol (EQ-5D-5L) scale to assess health across 5 domains; General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) as a screening assessment for minor mental health problems

Who are we working with?
The SECURE study is a partnership including:
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research (SSCR) in Manchester
The GM Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP)
The Greater Manchester Social Work Academy (GMSWA)
NIHR ARC Greater Manchester - Mental Health Theme; Public Health
Regional Public Health colleagues
The Thomas Ashton Institute
Social Work, University of Manchester
Regional service user and carer partners

How is the work funded? The work is funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR)

Short titleSECURE Study
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/08/23

Collaborative partners

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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