Do Policy Implementation Support Programmes Work? The Case of the Care Act 2014

David J. Hunter, Sam Redgate, Bob Hudson, Stephen Peckham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Context: Policy implementation is an often overlooked stage when policy is introduced. Too often the result is policy failure caused by overly optimistic expectations, implementation in dispersed governance, inadequate collaborative policy-making, and the vagaries of the political cycle.

The Care Act 2014 introduced the most significant change in social care law in England for 60 years. Given the complexity of the changes, the Department of Health and Social Care and its key partners introduced an Implementation Support Programme (ISP) to increase the likelihood of smooth implementation.

Objective: To assess the impact of the ISP on local implementation of the Care Act and develop a framework for understanding the requirements of a successful ISP.

Methods: Analysis was undertaken of the relevant theoretical and conceptual literature in addition to a review of support programmes for other national policies. The empirical study of the impact of the Care Act’s ISP, conducted in six local authorities, focused on three levels of activity that shaped outcomes: national, regional and local. Data were collected through interviews with key stakeholders at each level.

Findings: The ISP enjoyed several successes including: helping to secure policy legitimacy, developing stakeholder engagement, sustaining political support, and ensuring the readiness of local implementation agencies.

Limitations: The empirical research was confined to six English local authorities which limits drawing general conclusions applicable to the whole country.

Implications: Little evidence exists on the value of ISPs. The research goes some way to closing the gap and offers provisional messages on their value to policy-makers and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196–207
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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