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How to assess social interventions with high quality, transparency and transferability? Towards a common methodology.

SIA Conference May 23-24, 2023, Stockholm
How to assess social interventions with high quality, transparency and transferability? Towards a common methodology.

A number of researchers and other interested parties met in Stockholm in May 23-24, 2023. The focus was on overviews of social interventions and methods, SIA and the INSIA network, a network started at the initiative of the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. The meeting began with an international conference with participants from around twenty countries, both on-site and on-line. Decisive for Sweden’s hosting was the ongoing Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2023.

INSIA stands for the International Network for Social Intervention Assessment. The network has been in existence for just over a year and now has seven member countries, mainly European, but also from Canada.
Sophie Werkö, SBU’s International Relations Manager and Secretary of the INSIA network:
“INSIA works to avoid duplication of work by improving the methodological and overall quality of social services reviews” she explains.

On the initiative of SBU, 12 organizations agreed upon forming the network. A Board of directors, led by English Chair Nick Baillie, was formed in November 2021. Additional working groups have been set up under the network, dealing with areas such as information retrieval, health economics and methodological issues.
For last week’s conference, some twenty nations had signed up, mainly from European countries but also from the United States, Canada, and China.

“We see that there is a growing international interest in evaluating social efforts in a scientific way, so that resources can be used efficiently,” says Sophie.

One of the opening speakers at the conference was Minna Ljunggren, State Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Camilla Waltersson Grönvall:
“When people turn to social services for help, they should be able to expect evidence-based and effective support. Therefore, we need to provide the conditions for actors to exchange evidence in order to get a social service with the highest quality possible.”

She also noted that methods for evaluating interventions have long been in place in health care, while the social field has fallen behind.

“This is a problem because social care has just as much impact on people’s lives as health care.”
Minna Ljunggren concluded with the hope that the ongoing conference and INSIA will contribute to the development of methods for evaluating social services’ efforts with high quality, transparency and transferability.

This theme was further discussed and emphasized during the following INSIA membership meeting which also took place in Stockholm and was the first face-to-face meeting of the network.

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