This project is under way, and will run until October 2021.

  • Led by Keele University.
  • Research into the impact of COVID-19 on legal obligations within adult social care and safeguarding across England and Wales, to provide an understanding of how the pandemic has affected adults with care and support needs, and those who are at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Will involve a literature review, Freedom of Information requests, surveys and stakeholder interviews.

While there has been a drive to ensure health care providers are adequately equipped to deal with the effects of COVID-19, there has been limited research into the pandemic in the context of adult social care or adult safeguarding.

A survey by the British Association of Social Workers found that many local authorities were underprepared and struggled to meet their legal obligations during the first wave of the pandemic. Moreover, the Coronavirus Act 2020 included scope for widespread suspension of key duties under adult social care legislation, which has resulted in concerns that adults who require care and support were not having their needs met.

This project is the first in-depth research into the relationship between COVID-19 and adult social care and safeguarding. It will focus on services across local authorities and Safeguarding Adults Boards in England and Wales. Research methods will include a literature review, Freedom of Information requests, surveys and stakeholder interviews.

The research will provide a better understanding of what changes are happening to the legal obligations and practice of adult social care and adult safeguarding as a result of COVID-19. The findings will also be used as evidence as to how best to support the delivery of social care, social work and safeguarding in the future, for the duration of the pandemic and beyond.

The results will be disseminated through both social care and academic channels, and will involve a white paper, a webinar, practitioner-orientated blogs, briefings, reports and two peer-reviewed journal papers.


For more information about this project, please contact Dr Laura Pritchard-Jones, Lecturer in Law, Keele University.

More about the programme


COVID-19 Research Programme


The Health Foundation has launched a new research programme, which seeks to understand the impact of...

You might also like...


Webinar: The Health and Care White Paper unbound


On Thursday 11 March, our panel will unpick and critically assess the major proposals set out in the...

Press release

A budget for rescue but not recovery

Press release

Universal credit uplift and furlough extension welcome but public services underpinning recovery...


Wales must not be an afterthought when fighting COVID-19


Proportionally, Wales has recorded some of the UK's highest coronavirus death rates. Auriol Miller,...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Universal credit uplift, furlough extension and a rise in corporation tax are all welcome but public services under…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more