The portal ‘Social Services Knowledge Scotland’ is going live in May. Developed in partnership by NHS Education for Scotland, the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the Scottish Social Services Council Learning Networks, it is a major new resource for social services.

The purpose of this portal – www.SSKS.org.uk – reflects the overall commitment of the partners across the boundaries of the NHS and social services to provide knowledge support, learning and other resource and tools to support the workforce in improving services for users and carers and through all stages of a patient/client journey. There is clearly much to be gained by achieving coherence through managing these resources across sector boundaries.

The scope of this SSKS might best be understood through the realisation that using the search facility will simultaneously search a huge repository of resources across the NHS e-library, the Learning Exchange and Social Care Online, including its ResearchWeb, and encompasses not only these materials but also some of the key social science, social work and social policy data bases. Searching will find websites, policy documents, journal articles and books with links to full text where available.

Changing Lives underlines the need to build the capacity of the social services workforce, highlighting the importance in achieving this goal of accessing knowledge to underpin evidence based practice in the form of collaborative working, shared learning, accessing and sharing knowledge and evidence. To this end, the SSKS portal will provide users with access to a full and vast range of text, journals and books across the sector: a service currently unavailable anywhere else in the UK.

The portal specifically aims to provide improved access to information and knowledge to support policy and practice across the entire social services workforce, including:

It also makes available tools, models and guidance to help facilitate development of a knowledge culture in the social services, expressed through collaborative working, and sharing of learning, evidence, explicit and tacit knowledge.

The website will highlight for social services staff:

Providing the means to host communities and networks of practitioners, the SSKS is integral to some of the ongoing work of the Changing Lives Change Programmes, for instance the Leadership programme.

Following its launch, the partners are now in discussions with the Changing Lives team to link the portal up with the Changing Lives website www.socialworkscotland.org.uk. They are also working with specialist groups and experts to develop topic areas, and overseeing the development of a governance structure and communication plan for the on-going support of the portal.

If you would like to find out more about the portal please go to www.ssks.org.uk or contact Annette Thain (NES) on 0141 352 2908 or at annette.thain@nes.scot.nhs.uk.