Monday, 18 July 2016


Something relevant – so worth remembering

Two years ago the Applied Health and Wellbeing Partnership at John Moores  University in Liverpool published an evaluation of the Stick'n'Step Conductive Education service, in a research paradigm rather more relevant to the interests of both users and public authorities than much that has gone before:

Two years later, while one still occasionally hears of people searching around for 'research evidence', there seems to have been no mention of this study in the Conductive Education research literature.

The CE research literature – in the sense of a progressively accumulating body of published reports, dynamically incorporating, analysing and building upon what has been published before – seems largely to have ground to a halt.

One serious (outside) reviewer from outside the field of CE has, however, picked this study up. Last year Optimity Advisors, acting for NICE (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence), considered this particular study one of the 'better reported' in their review of seven 'SROI' studies  –
Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis is intended to capture and value in monetary terms a wider set of impacts relevant to a more extended group of stakeholders than is usual with other types of economic evaluation. SROI analysis '…is a framework for measuring and accounting for this much broader concept of value; it seeks to reduce inequality and environmental degradation and improve wellbeing by incorporating social, environmental and economic costs and benefits' (p.4)
Despite positive results of this sample of SROI evaluations various caveats left it hard to draw general conclusions about the cost-effectiveness of such community engagement programmes on the basis of the evidence contained within them.

It is of course early in the game, and possibly CE services elsewhere might generate evaluations that build upon the work investigated at Stick'n'Step.

Meanwhile, bearing this in mind, conductivists everywhere might like to consider a couple of NICE's tabulated findings –
Outcomes: All children and adult stakeholders involved in this evaluation reported a number of outcomes from which three main themes of impacts emerged, based around social, mental health and wellbeing benefits and the learning of new skills. Social benefits included the meeting of new people, making new friends and feeling more socially included in society. As a result of engagement with Stick ’n’ Step, mental health and wellbeing had improved with many respondents stating they felt happy and relaxed after attending. Having learnt new skills which had enabled them to make improvements in their mobility, and the pain reduction that came with CE sessions, many young people reported feelings of pride brought on by how hard they had worked to achieve personal goals set out as part of their holistic programme of care when they first attended Stick ‘n’ Step....

Stick ‘n’ Step results in £4.89 gain in benefits per £1 invested

(ibid. p. 58)

Optimity Advisors (2015) Community Engagement – approaches to improve health and reduce health inequalities Review of Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluations, London, NICE, July

Sutton, A. (2014) Major step forward at Stick'n'Step: something fresh in 'CE research', Conductive World, 18 July

Whelan, G., Roach, G. (2014) An evaluation of the Stick ‘n’ Step charity in Wirral, Merseyside, Final report, Liverpool, John Moores University, February



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