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Understanding needs, services and outcomes


Local authority returns indicate very significant changes over the last ten years in the number and characteristics of social care recipients as well as in the level and nature of the support they receive. These data also show significant variability in the extent and nature of social care coverage across local authorities.

There is a lack of data sources available to describe these changes (and to understand their consequences) at the individual-level. Surveys such as Understanding Society, ELSA, and Health Survey for England, for instance, contain a very limited number of cases whose needs meet current social care eligibility criteria.

It is very important that over the medium-term large datasets are developed which describe the needs, services and outcomes of social care users and enable the evaluation of the way in which social care resources are targeted.


  • Build long-term, mutually-beneficial partnerships with local authorities to exchange on a long-term basis administrative data about needs, services and outcomes and policy evidence and findings.

  • Use the evidence from these partnerships to analyse cross-sectionally and longitudinally social care needs, of care and outcomes for people with social care needs.


Establishing partnerships

This project will work with 10–15 authorities to agree and carry out a set of analyses covering analyses of needs, service targeting and outcomes.


Analysis of needs, services and outcomes

The project will build a panel dataset of indicators describing needs, activity, expenditure and outcomes over a number of years (as allowed by local administrative data collections). In addition, the data will be used to carry out specific analyses around key policy questions, such as:

  • The cost-effectiveness of different social care services

  • Prevention: the extent to which higher levels/different types of support for people with low needs result in long-term reductions in the use of expensive care.

  • The complementarity and substitutability of health and social care services


Jose-Luis Fernandez (Lead), Tom Snell, Juliette Malley


  • Start Date: January 2019

  • End date: December 2021

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