NISW research out to tender

    The research arm of the National Institute for Social Work was
    put out to tender in a move designed to protect the unit’s
    independence, writes Lauren Revans.

    The majority of NISW’s functions will transfer to the Social
    Care Institute for Excellence when it comes into being in the
    autumn, but NISW wants its research unit to be kept at arms length
    from the government-funded institute.

    They hope instead to receive bids from university departments
    interested in continuing the independent work of the academic
    research unit. Bids must be received by the end of July.

    Scie will be able to commission work from the successful bidder,
    and will also have two or three former NISW researchers based
    in-house.

    Details on the transfer of staff and functions from NISW to
    Scie, and the “orderly closure” of NISW’s business, were delayed by
    the general election, but chairperson John Ransford is keen to see
    the deal sealed by the end of July.

    “If it goes on too long, the costs of transition will be too
    high for NISW and there will be too much uncertainty for the
    staff,” he warned. Scie must be incorporated before any transfer
    can be finalised.

    Scie was announced by the government in July last year and will
    be responsible for developing a knowledge base of what works in
    social care, and disseminating that knowledge to managers,
    practitioners, and service users. It will also produce best
    practice guidelines for frontline staff.

    NISW was established as a charity to promote excellence in
    social work and social care over 40 years ago. It announced in May
    that it had reached a provisional agreement with the department of
    health to close down and transfer its core functions to Scie.

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