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

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

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

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.

The social care funding gap – our updated estimates and figures explained

9 June 2020

This update gives revised estimates for the social care funding gap and sets out how and why our estimates have changed over time.

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...

What does the Budget mean for health and social care?

16 March 2020

Anita Charlesworth explores the contrasts at the heart of the March Budget and the implications for the NHS and social care.

New points-based immigration system looks set to make our social care crisis even worse

Press release
18 February 2020

Health Foundation response to new immigration system, announced in February 2020, and what it means for social care.

Social care can ill afford further limitations on recruitment from abroad

Press release
28 January 2020

Health Foundation response to the Migration Advisory Committee's report on a future immigration system.

The three main parties are offering different visions of what the public can expect from the NHS

Press release
29 November 2019

Health Foundation analysis of parties’ NHS and social care funding pledges for the 2019 General Election.

Social care funding: public perceptions and preferences

10 October 2019

Anita Charlesworth reflects on findings about public preferences for adult social care funding.

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