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The Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) is a caring and dialogue-based approach to exploring and using different types of knowledge (collectively termed as ‘evidence’), with a focus on making the world of social care a better place. DEEP is as much a way of being as it is a way of doing, and builds bridges between policy, research, practice and people.

Over the life of the programme, we aim to achieve the following 6 outcomes:

  • The DEEP approach is clearly articulated and widely understood across Wales and internationally
  • People can independently apply the DEEP approach using a range of associated techniques
  • The DEEP approach is embedded in national strategic learning, development and performance programmes across Wales
  • Social care policy and practice across Wales are enhanced as a result of applying the DEEP approach
  • Social care research capacity building across Wales is enhanced as a result of DEEP
  • There is a strong evidence base regarding the efficacy and sustainability of the DEEP approach

We will work in an inclusive, caring and co-productive manner with strategic partner organisations and all stakeholders to refine and embed the DEEP approach in knowledge mobilisation across Wales. We aim to extend the depth and breadth of DEEP impact and ensure the sustainability of the DEEP approach into the future

The Health and Care Research Wales funded Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) programme based in Swansea University is focused on making the world of social work and social care a better place, through using diverse types of 'evidence' (research, lived experience of service users and carers, practitioner and organisational knowledge) in learning and development. Central to this work is assisting local authorities and other organisations to develop an 'enriched environment of care and learning' though supporting the emotional wellbeing of practitioners and the people they work with, and collective approaches to learning 'on the job' using storytelling and dialogue-learning techniques. These techniques nurture relationship-building and learning and development that is evidence-enriched and led by the people involved and not imposed on them.

Organisations that have collaborated with the Wales School for Social Care Research in applying the DEEP approach.

Since its launch in 2015, Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) has been a programme of work within the Wales School for Social Care Research and now is funded as a stand alone project by Health and Care Research Wales. It is essentially a caring and co-production approach to knowledge mobilisation, using narrative and dialogue-based methods to explore and use diverse types of knowledge (collectively termed as evidence) in social care service and workforce development. DEEP has been well received and supported by a wide range of social care, health, academic and community organisations – local, regional and national.


Public involvement in DEEP development work

The knowledge of people who know through experience is a fundamental component of the DEEP approach and public/citizen engagement is intrinsic to the work, as demonstrated in the detailed summary report for the Wales School for Social Care Research, which was submitted to H&CRW earlier this year.

Examples of DEEP development work

Since 2015, we have undertaken a diverse range of DEEP activities. This has included the development of national learning and development strategies (e.g. Good Work Dementia Learning and Development Framework for Wales), regional developments around homecare and short breaks, learning and practice developments in social work and social care services and community-based prevention and well-being work (see Current Projects for more details).

DEEP Research and Practice Development Groups (R&PDGs)

As well as supporting learning and development in a wide range of social care organisations and partnerships, DEEP has also led to the establishment of three shared-interest groups, which bring together multiple DEEP collaborators with researchers based in Wales and other parts of the UK, with the aim of supporting both research and practice development.

The current DEEP R&PDGs are:

  • Short Breaks (in partnership with CADR) – a four UK nations group focused on improvements to respite services for carers and the people they support
  • Small is Beautiful – a growing network of community-based organisations with a focus on community capacity building and associated research
  • Relationships, kindness and well-being – a three UK nations emerging collaboration around relational ways of working that challenge overly bureaucratic and process focused policy, practice, learning and development