Facilitating care insight to develop caring economies
Ahead of the UK government’s much-anticipated consultation on adult social care in England, Future Care Capital commissioned us to look at regional variations in social care and the implications for policy.
Regional variations matter because it is at this level that individual councils are responsible for social care. Effective local provision requires an appreciation of local circumstances.
Our analysis applied statistical methods to categorise local areas into groups with similar characteristics.
We then considered how risks and opportunities in care provision might differ by group distinguishing, as examples, ‘developed commuter belt’ areas from ‘old industrial hubs’ and ‘rural heartlands’. This analysis raised questions about the applicability of any ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy approach.
The research also highlighted the radical shift in models of service provision needed (and underway) for councils to fulfil their obligations under the Care Act 2014.
Interviews with representatives from four local authorities shed further light on how councils were dealing with issues on the ground. These interviews underscored the importance of identifying and making use of local strengths and assets.
The availability of good data and evidence to support decision-makers remains a critical challenge, however both strands of the research identified shortcomings in existing data collection that hinder efforts to both monitor and act. As care systems evolve, data and analytics will need to keep pace.
The report informed Future Care Capital’s policy recommendations to ensure that councils are properly equipped to face the challenges ahead.