Knowledge exchange and care delivery in rural and urban LD teams


This project aims to examine processes of knowledge exchange in the Cambridge Learning Disability Partnership. The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To understand how existing structures and informal networks facilitate knowledge exchange
  • To understand the ways in which practitioners and managers perceive the processes of knowledge exchange and their impact on care delivery
  • To understand how rural and urban contexts influence the processes of knowledge exchange and what impact they have on care delivery
  • To use research findings to improve practice

Effective processes of knowledge exchange are very important for integrated services such as the Learning Disability Partnership, which rely on the coordination of multiple agencies, teams, and individual professionals.

In addition, there is evidence to suggest that there are particular challenges in rural areas (lower per capita spending; accessibility issues and socio-economic deprivation in some rural areas). More research is needed to examine the particular challenges faced by learning disability teams serving rural populations, and more generally to examine the perceptions of practitioners and managers regarding the impact of knowledge exchange on the delivery of care in rural as opposed to urban locations.

The research will generate a detailed picture of current knowledge exchange practice in the Learning Disability Partnership, thus recognising and highlighting existing areas of good practice. It is also hoped that the project will generate positive suggestions regarding possible improvements to knowledge exchange systems and informal processes within the LDP.


Approximately 40 semi-structured interviews will be conducted with staff in two community learning disability teams, Cambridge City (urban) and Fenland (rural).

Approximately 10 semi-structured interviews will also be conducted with Local Authority senior managers and local policymakers.

A small number of focus groups (two per team, of one hour duration) will also be utilised in order to discuss issues in depth. Lastly, a number of team meetings (both Business Meetings and Referral Meetings) will be observed in both teams.


This study is a joint project between the Judge Business School Implementation Theme and the Adult Theme.

The project partners are the Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, Cambridgeshire County Council.


Project links

Project protocol

For more information contact:  Dr Conor Farrington, Judge Business School,