The Welsh Government Supporting People Data Linkage Project: Assessing the impacts of Supporting People on well-being outcomes and service use in Wales
Building on the findings from a feasibility study that collected data from two pilot local authorities, this research will bring together and analyse anonymised administrative data from the Supporting People programme from across Wales. The aim of the study is to provide a more robust analysis of the impacts of the Supporting People programme, investigating how it affects use of other public services, and whether it helps people live independently.
This study will provide evidence to inform the future policy direction of the Supporting People programme in Wales. Specifically, the project team will be working closely with Welsh Government officials who will make recommendations to the Minister for Housing and Regeneration based on the analysis of impact.
More about the research
The Supporting People programme provides support to vulnerable individuals who are at risk of losing, or who have lost their homes, or who need housing-related support to retain or regain their independence. The programme aims to prevent problems in the first place, or provide support and assistance as early as possible in order to reduce the demand on other services such as health and social services.
The Welsh Government Supporting People Data Linkage Feasibility study (published in March 2016) demonstrated the usefulness of linked data for analysis purposes. The feasibility study focused on health service related outcomes such as interactions with GP services, Accident and Emergency visits and hospital admissions. Key points from the feasibility study were that people accessing Supporting People services were at a higher risk of hospitalisation and GP attendance than the general population. Furthermore, leading up to receipt of Supporting People support, GP and Emergency Department use increased, before declined after an intervention from the programme. Though these findings were promising indicators of the effectiveness of Supporting People in improving people’s lives, findings were limited to health outcomes, and Supporting People data were only obtained from two Local Authorities in Wales.
The current project aims to build on the feasibility study by linking a Wales-wide sample of Supporting People administrative data (from all 22 local authorities in Wales) with existing routine health records, as well as additional non-health administrative data. The aim is to assess the impact of the programme on a wider range of outcomes. The project will initially focus on interactions with health services (primary and secondary care). In the longer term, the researcher will work with other data linking projects, particularly those falling within the Welsh Government Programme to Maximise the Use of Existing Data to acquire data from other public services, such as social care and the criminal justice system, for linking.
Research team/lead researcher
Rhodri Johnson, Swansea University
Laura McGinn, Swansea University