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for reform:

Understanding the impact of adult social care charging reforms and planning for successful implementation.
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In 2021 the Government published the Build Back Better and People at the Heart of Care white papers setting out their plans to fundamentally reform the funding and delivery of adult social care.

These reforms have been broadly welcomed but there is still much detail yet to be confirmed about how they will operate in practice.

About this Report

Building on the Future of Adult Social Care paper published by the County Councils Network (CCN) and Newton in 2021, the purpose of this new report is to specifically assess the financial and operational impact of the charging reforms and provide recommendations for local systems and central government to support effective implementation.

Financial and operational impact of charging reform


Estimated total financial impact to local authorities of charging reform


Number of additional assessments that will need to be conducted annually


Number of additional social work staff that will be required

Recommendations for central and local government

As well as setting out the financial and operational impact of the reforms, this report also highlights the opportunity from reform in providing a catalyst to continue to transform social care.

However, this can only be achieved given the right support from Government, and the report identifies several important recommendations for central policy makers, with the aim of facilitating the reforms’ implementation and improving outcomes for residents:


To urgently invest in a national recruitment and workforce development campaign for local authorities and providers.


To fully fund the increase in cost of these reforms to local authorities.


To phase the implementation of the components of reform, allowing local authorities, providers, and residents the necessary time to prepare, mitigating the risks and fully capitalising on the opportunities for innovation.


To provide additional implementation support and funding, to ensure local authorities have the right project and change management capacity and capability.


To support local authorities to address the shortage in capacity of community support.


To carry out, in full, the recommendations from the Future of Adult Social Care report, to support local authorities to optimise delivery and mitigate the increase in cost.


To ensure funding is made available in line with need at a local level.


To fully account for the wider costs of these reforms, most notably the Continuing Healthcare cost to the NHS.


Provide clear guidance for how those currently in receipt of services will transition into the new system, including how means testing and top-ups should be applied.


Develop a clear communications plan for residents, supporting them to understand the impact of reforms, including how much cost they will be liable for.

The report also makes several recommendations to local systems as they prepare for implementation of the reforms:

Develop a comprehensive communication and engagement plan for residents, in partnership with Government.

Continue to promote independence and maximise effective and appropriate use of community support.

Continue to increase the productivity of the social care workforce, including exploring the role that digital and technology can play.

Develop a tailored approach to means testing, assessments, and case management.

Engage colleagues in IT and Digital to ensure the right systems will be in place.

Ensure there are detailed plans to address the lack of homecare capacity.

Continue to develop an open, two-way dialogue with care providers, specifically regarding the fair cost of care.

Engage system partners, through Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), to ensure the impact of the reforms is fully understood and to build local support.

Ensure that implementation of the reforms is effectively resourced.

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