The adult social care market in England: insights and recommendations ahead of future social care reforms

National Audit Office (25.03.21)

The Department of Health & Social Care is responsible for setting national policy and the legal framework. This report examines the current care market and the Department’s role in overseeing the market now and in the future, with the aim of offering insights and recommendations ahead of future social care reforms.

COVID-19 has focused attention on social care as never before. It has highlighted existing problems with social care and emphasised significant gaps in the Department’s understanding of the market. However, we have also seen substantial efforts from those across the sector to deliver these essential services in such challenging circumstances. The Department has recently taken steps to increase the capacity of its teams; address data gaps, with local government and care providers; and strengthen system accountability and assurance. This renewed focus, impetus and collaborative approach must be capitalised upon when government finally focuses on the long-awaited social care reforms.