SILVER: Smart Interventions for Local Vulnerable Families

cumbria icon North East and North Cumbria
Core research team: Institute for Health and Society at Newcastle University – Dr Raghu Lingam; raghu.lingam@newcastle.ac.uk, Dr Ruth McGovern; r.mcgovern@newcastle.ac.uk, Prof Eileen Kaner; eileen.kaner@newcastle.ac.uk, Debbie Smart; debbie.smart@newcastle.ac.uk
Openlab – Kyle Montague and Alex Bowyer
Arjuna – Steve Caughey and Stuart Wheater
Community area impacted: Vulnerable families
Key partners: Newcastle University (Lead),
Councils of North Tyneside, Newcastle, Northumberland and Gateshead, Openlab,
Arjuna Technologies Limited,
Troubled families, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
Start/end dates Jan 2017 – Dec 2018

Project Overview

One of Connected Health Cities’ major areas of interest in the North East and North Cumbria is the high risk user groups and vulnerable families. For example, children subject to a Child Protection Plan, adults and young people out of work/at risk of worklessness or at risk of financial exclusion, and families affected by a range of social and health problems such as anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and substance use.   The SILVER programme aims to explore how data linkages can be implemented to benefit these same populations.

The SILVER project aims to link data across multiple agencies including health (physical and mental), social care, criminal justice, housing and education in order to develop a more complete Learning Health System.  The programme aims to

(i) explore issues of consent of personal data from the user perspectives and

(ii) develop sustainable interventions that can be used by key workers across agencies.

Dr James Newman explains how the SILVER project will help families living in the region.

‘The SILVER platform will map the needs of the individual across multiple agencies and highlight any gaps in care that need to be addressed. By bringing together data from health, criminal justice and social care it will help key workers better support those families that are at risk due to significant poverty, parental chronic illness or disability, unemployed or mental health problems.’

Dr Lingam, Principal Invesitigator, SILVER Project


Why is this research project important?

The programme is creating new ways of improving health care for patients in Northern England.  It can ensure we are joining up all the data which is available to us and using it to provide the best service for vulnerable families.


What is the project’s overall aim?

The key aim is to develop data sharing agreements to allow the linking of existing health data across multiple health agencies via one platform that provides recommendations to key workers.


What data are being used in this project?

There is an enormous amount of data available from these agencies; the project will establish what the key data indicators are in order to produce an effective citizen record. The first data sources to consider are the current data sharing agreements between agencies in order to identify how best to combine these data.


What methods are you using to conduct this work?

Public Engagement is crucial to this project to understand the extent to which data sharing is acceptable.  Focus groups and interviews will be held with vulnerable families to scope what is available. This will help develop interventions which will be assessed for feasibility and acceptability in a pilot trial.


Who will benefit from your research?

The two groups who will benefit are –

1.      Health Care Professionals and service providers – key workers in social care, justice and health will have access to more information which will assist with decision making

2.      Vulnerable families – whose key worker will be more informed when developing their pathway and thus ultimately providing more effective care


What will be the intended outcome of your research project?

The main outcome will be to understand the current consent procedures for vulnerable families and any associated barriers.  A mixed methods process evaluation will analyse the impact of the SILVER intervention on both clients and frontline workers.  Specifically, we will analyse to what extent the implementation of the intervention reaches families from different backgrounds, how the intervention was used, and its acceptability. We will also consider how the SILVER intervention changed practice specifically of the key worker and if the participant was satisfied with the service they received.