A sustainable social care system Our research and analysis of social care aims to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.


Social care is the provision of personal care or support to children or adults in need or at risk. This care or support can be both practical and emotional – and the individual’s needs might stem from illness, disability, old age or poverty. Within the UK social care policy is devolved across the four nations.

Whereas the health care system is free at the point of use, in England social care is means-tested, which remains a source of inequity and unfairness. Particularly at a time where social care funding is falling per capita in real terms, reducing the amount and quality of social care that is publicly provided.

An ageing population and increase in the number of younger adults living with disabilities are pushing up the cost of caring for older and disabled people, placing the social care system under huge strain. While all four nations are facing the same demand pressures, the social care system in England needs adequate funding to return to previous levels of access and quality, in addition to the rising demand and costs.

Our research and analysis of social care aims to inform policymaking and ensure the debate is evidence-based and focused on the future.

Long read

What should be done to fix the crisis in social care? ARCHIVED

About 15 mins to read

Long read

Five messages for government about priorities and options for social care reform in England.

Long read

Health and social care funding

About 10 mins to read

Long read

We explore the level of funding that the next government will need to commit to in order to maintain...

Sunak was silent on social care when action is needed now

10 March 2021

The Budget continued a pattern of minimal short-term social care funding and nothing about longer term reform, write Lucinda Allen and Charles Tallack.

Why the market matters in adult social care (and what we can do about it)

26 February 2021

There are endemic failures in the adult social care market. In this blog we explain why reform is needed and identify a set of questions we think need to be explored.

How is COVID-19 impacting people working in adult social care?

8 January 2021

We bring together emerging evidence of the pandemic’s impact so far on a workforce that has for too long been undervalued, underpaid and politically neglected.

Listening to the future: Introducing the REAL Centre

Newsletter feature
29 October 2020

The Health Foundation has launched the REAL Centre, dedicating £20m of investment to its work supporting long-term planning in health and social care. 

Fundamental reform of social care needed if country is to ‘build back better’

Press release
22 October 2020

Our response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report on social care funding and workforce.

Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care

Consultation response
September 2020

Health Foundation response to the Health and Social Care Committee on the need for a comprehensive workforce strategy for the NHS and social care sectors.

The adult social care workforce in London

20 August 2020

We explore analysis on the social care workforce and the delivery of care services in London.

Legacy of political neglect had left social care fatally exposed before the outbreak began

Press release
18 June 2020

Health Foundation response to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Budget Survey 2020.

Social care: funding and workforce

Consultation response
June 2020

Health Foundation submission to the Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry on how much extra money is needed in each of the next five years to counteract the impact of a shortage of care on t...

Even before COVID-19, high workforce turnover rates posed a major challenge for social care

29 May 2020

Even before the pandemic, staffing was the biggest single challenge for the sector in England. High and increasing staff turnover rates – the proportion of staff leaving their roles in the previous 12...

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