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Developing adult social care modelling capability for policy analysis


Government needs to consider the impact of alternative policies on people, organisations and the wider economy to discharge its responsibilities effectively. Simulation modelling techniques are a useful tool for this purpose, since they can illustrate the system-level impact of new services, policies and arrangements under a set of explicit assumptions which can be varied. Information from the simulation models can be used to, for example, fine tune policies and build a case for investment in innovative care models or processes. There is therefore a need for investment in developing simulation models to support policy analysis and decision-making.

Many policy questions are amenable to simulation modelling. While a number of simulation models have been developed to support adult social care policy analysis, there is a need to reflect on the capability of the current suite of models and consider whether it fully meets the requirements of central government (and other key policy stakeholders). The central question that this study seeks to address is ‘what are the core policy questions for central government and to what extent are they amenable to simulation modelling?’


  • Consult with central government (and other key stakeholders) on a set of priority areas for development of modelling capability to explore the aggregate and long- term consequences for the adult social care system of new policies, services and care practices not simply those related to funding reform.

  • Assess the best way of meeting stakeholders’ modelling requirements. 

  • Produce recommendations for model development to explore the aggregate and long-term consequences for the adult social care system of new policies, services and care practices.


A workshop with central government and other stakeholders was held to discuss core adult social care policy questions that are likely to be amenable to simulation modelling. To encourage stakeholders to think as broadly as possible, a brief framework  was developed to structure the discussion. Findings from this process are being synthesised for a set of priority areas to be identified. 


The project will then assess the best way of meeting stakeholder requirements drawing on a review of the simulation modelling literature and reviewing the capability of existing internal models to meet the modelling requirements. Initial scoping work will be carried out to assess the feasibility of developing a model.


Consultation will take place with policy colleagues on the recommendations from the study about the priorities for model development. 


Juliette Malley (Lead), Raphael Wittenberg, Jose-Luis Fernandez


  • Start Date: January 2019

  • End date: December 2019

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