Producing insightful research that can inform policy has always been at the heart of all decision making at ADR Wales, but the close engagement of the team with their policy counterparts has never been greater than in the past year.   

Supporting new insights in priority policy areas

In late 2022, ADR Wales publicly unveiled its ‘Programme of Work 2022-2026’, at an event supported by Ministers at the home of Welsh Parliament, The Senedd. The ADR Wales team outlined the programme’s ten thematic areas, covering major considerations of sustainability, the Welsh language, engagement, and training and capacity building. It also aligns with national commitments in the Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the Programme for Government for Wales (2021-2026).   

ADR Wales’ established thematic areas continue to thrive, led by academic experts and facilitating collaboration between the data acquisition team and data owners across the UK.   

Three new research areas of social justice, climate change and major societal challenges are expansive and cross-cutting, serving to strengthen ADR Wales’ existing research offering while ensuring that the team can provide insights to make Wales fairer, greener and stronger.   

Relationships across sectors and organisations continue to grow, paving the way for collaboration and end results that make the best use of available data and expertise. The ADR Wales team continues to be called upon to provide insight, for example, their work focusing on substance misuse as part of the Ministry of Justice Better Outcomes through Linked Data (BOLD) programme has been bolstered by further investment.   

Informing the social care sector

ADR Wales has joined forces with Social Care Wales to drive forward their social care ambitions. Working closely with data providers, the team aims to improve the availability and quality of data that can inform this crucial sector. This collaboration seeks to build on previous ADR Wales work to produce research-ready linked children’s social care data, which has now been used by multiple data investments.  

2022-2023 has been a year of growth and ambition for ADR Wales, and the team looks forward to sharing findings, making increasing levels of data available for research, and exchanging knowledge in the year ahead.   

The role and reputation of ADR Wales is growing. Increasingly the team are recognised as those who can assist, advise and bring about change in how data is safely used and how it can help to inform.   

We are proud of the breadth and depth of insight undertaken within each of our thematic areas and for the considerable levels of engagement that have been undertaken between policy and partner organisations, ensuring a programme of work that will be of significant use. We look forward to the months and years ahead, as our Programme of Work begins to produce results that can help to make Wales a fairer and stronger place.

Stephanie Howarth, ADR Wales Co-Director

This has been a remarkable year for ADR Wales as we set out our ambitions with a programme of work built on expertise, collaboration, engagement and the enabling of others to do the same.    

Our portfolio is vast, but our focus remains; to responsibly use and make available data for research that can have a positive impact on society. We will continue to move forward strengthening our technical infrastructure, networks, knowledge base and expertise to enable this.

Professor David Ford, ADR Wales Co-Director

Evidencing Covid-19 vaccine uptake among people experiencing homelessness  

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Welsh Government prioritised people experiencing homelessness as part of the mass vaccination programme in Wales. This prioritisation was based on global evidence highlighting worse health outcomes among people experiencing homelessness, potentially leading to Covid-19 complications and death should they become infected by the virus.  

The ADR Wales Housing and Homelessness team have explored the uptake of Covid-19 vaccination among people with recent experiences of homelessness. Findings will help policymakers and service providers in Wales to assess the scale of vaccine inequality, and the effectiveness of efforts to prioritise people experiencing homelessness.   

The team used de-identified healthcare and substance use services data to find people who had recently experienced homelessness in Wales, and combined this with information on Covid-19 vaccines delivered by NHS Wales.  

Initial findings suggest that people with experiences of homelessness had lower vaccination uptake compared to the general population, on a scale that was in line with other international studies.  

In addition to evidencing vaccine prioritisation, this analysis demonstrates the benefits of having routinely generated information relating to the experience of homelessness. This adds to the evidence base in support of improving these data collections in Wales and the UK.  

Closing the Gap? Understanding the provision and impact of careers guidance in schools    

Careers Wales is responsible for providing an independent and impartial careers information, advice and guidance service in Wales.  ADR Wales Skills and Employability researchers have been working with Careers Wales to explore how the data it collects through the course of its work can be combined with other data to provide new and unique insights on children’s circumstances and how best to support them.    

The team first examined the difficulties faced by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds using data from ‘Career Check’, a diagnostic tool that helps careers advisors identify those pupils who are most in need of support.  They found that pupils in receipt of free school meals were more likely to report perceiving that the achievement of their goals was being hindered; that their family did not support their ideas and that a lack of money might limit their future choices.    

 Analyses then focused on how careers guidance is prioritised within Welsh schools. The team found that pupils with low levels of attainment, and who are eligible for free school meals, are most likely to receive guidance. However, among those with higher levels of attainment, Career Check is also used to identify those where there is cause for concern regarding their career planning capabilities.   

Most recently the team have examined the effectiveness of careers guidance in supporting transitions to post-compulsory education and training. This analysis demonstrated that young people who had received a careers guidance interview during Key Stage 4 were more likely to remain in education and training, with more significant effects among the most disadvantaged groups of pupils.  

Increasing engagement with post-compulsory education and training is a key aim of the Welsh Government.  This ADR Wales evidence, showing that outcomes for young people can be enhanced by careers guidance interventions and that these effects are greater among the most disadvantaged pupils, is therefore important for policymakers and practitioners.

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