Social care comprises personal care and practical support for adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or physical or mental illnesses, as well as support for their carers. The government’s objectives are to enhance adults' quality of life, delay and reduce the need for care, ensure positive care experiences, and safeguard adults from harm. Publicly funded care makes up only a minority of the total value of care, and this proportion is decreasing. Most care and support is provided unpaid by family, friends and neighbours (informal care), while many adults pay for some or all of their formal care services. Local authorities provide a range of universal and preventative services, many of which are available without assessment of need. Local authorities typically only pay for individual packages of care for adults assessed as having high needs and limited means. They commission most care from the private and voluntary sectors, with home care and care homes the most common services. Challenges to future delivery of adult care are great – rising demand within a decreasing envelope of public funding.
This inquiry is an overview of adult care, including funding, spending, policy, delivery, monitoring and accountability. It will examine the key challenges within the sector and the ways they are being addressed, and evaluate progress in meeting these challenges.