Get Connected

Impact Evaluation

Aldridge F, Casey L, Lockhart-Smith A, Miller L, Oakley J, Plant H, Sterland L, Stevens H, Higgins T |   | National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) | Feb 2012

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In 2010 the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) commissioned the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) to undertake a study into the impact of the Get Connected Investment Project.

The Get Connected Investment Project was a £12 million capital grant programme focused on improving access to and use of digital technology in adult social care. It was established by the Department of Health to enable registered care providers and independent sector organisations, supporting personalisation in adult social care, to access digital technology more effectively.

In a world where information and communications technology (ICT), and the internet in particular, are transforming the way we communicate, learn and work, thousands of independent sector social care services for adults in England – many of them small, private or voluntary sector organisations – do not have access to high-quality internet or digital technology.

This means their users and staff are at a disadvantage in terms of access to training and development, knowledge gathering and full participation in the support networks available online.

The Get Connected Investment Project aimed to enable care providers to improve access for service users, carers, visitors and staff to ICT so they could use the power of the internet to communicate, learn and train.NIACE and IES were commissioned to evaluate the impact of the introduction of new or improved technologies funded through the Get Connected Investment Project.

The overarching aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of the funding on service users and staff. The principal research questions guiding the work were:

  • What patterns of infrastructure support to strengthen personalisation are being developed with the use of Get Connected funds?
  • Are providers able to carry out their plans as proposed?
  • How far do the actual outcomes of the funding match the goals of the Get Connected Initiative, in particular in furthering the goals of personalised social care services?

The evaluation focused specifically on the 248 adult social care providers awarded grants (of up to £22,000) in the first cycle of the programme to improve access to digital technology for service users, carers and staff to:

  • Enhance the quality of life offered within the service
  • Support their learning, training and development.