6. Concluding Comments
The purpose of this review was to consider some of the existing literature on integrating services and highlight issues for the further development of the evidence base. It is apparent that the terminology in the area is confusing with a number of different terms adopted and definitions applied. Despite strong evidence in favour of integration based on instances where agencies have failed to join up, there is limited evidence demonstrating positive impacts on outcomes, such as levels of achievement or health. There is also limited evidence on the economic effectiveness of integration and service users' views on the value of integrated working.
There is however fairly substantial and growing evidence based on the perceptions of professionals, highlighting challenges, barriers and key factors for success. Similar thematic issues are arising from research and experience across sectors, with the challenge of successfully connecting evidence and practice remaining.