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
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.