Social Care - 2020 and beyond

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Social Care - 2020 and beyond

Published 25 November 2020

Even before Covid-19, there were concerns about the fragmented delivery and scarcity of funding within the social care sector, particularly for publicly funded care. Extra pressure was also felt due to increased demand for long term care set against a shortage of people wanting to work in the sector as a result of low wages, difficult working conditions, Brexit and limited career progression opportunities.

The pandemic has compounded the issues facing the sector, with too many stories of poor communication leading to patients with Covid-19 being discharged from hospitals into under prepared care homes. The pandemic has also heaped more cost onto social care, as providers continue to work within the usual regulatory requirements and CQC quality domains, whilst managing additional Covid-related operational risks. All this results in inevitable increased cost spent on consumables such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), increased staff training and support, and the longer-term costs of redesigning and rebuilding care homes to address long term infection control requirements.

The sector has also been hit by a loss of public confidence - many insiders say unfairly - due in part to negative media coverage and public criticism from politicians - including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

This already difficult environment could become even more challenging if fears of a wave of post Covid-19 litigation and regulatory enforcement come to pass. There are likely to be negligence claims from bereaved families of residents and staff, or stress-related claims from staff who feel they may have been put in harm’s way due to lack of equipment or poor guidance. It also remains to be seen how regulators, including CQC and HSE, will respond to risks identified during the pandemic and the impact this will have on future regulatory inspection and enforcement decisions.

Much then, depends on ministerial pledges to carry out a major reform of social care provision; transforming it into an affordable and sustainable sector that can provide quality care for an ageing population and specialist support for those with physical and mental disabilities whilst also offering long term rewarding careers for its workforce.

Crucially, reforms must ensure social care dovetails flawlessly with NHS, local authority and other services, to ease bottlenecks in the system and ensure people are well cared for.

This report examines some of the challenges in the care system in terms of regulation, communication, commissioning, funding and staffing, and offers conclusions and recommendations which would help shape a more sustainable future for the social care system in this country.

We would like to thank our contributors; Mark Adams the chief executive of Community Integrated Care, Sally Ireland head of regulation at the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), Chris Jackson the national chair of the National Association of Safety and Health in Care Services, and his national executive committee, Carrie Pilgrim, the clinical assurance manager at Octopus Real Estate, Julie Rayner, the director of care quality, governance and compliance at Hallmark Care Homes, Irene Sobowale, the chief executive of the Disabilities Trust, and David Williams the chief executive of St Monica’s Trust.

Click here to download the report in full, or see below for the relevant articles:

Regulation and governance

For the social care sector to thrive, regulation and governance will need careful attention.

Click here to read article on regulation and governance.

Investment and finance

Social care offers opportunities for investors, although innovation and legislative change is needed to ensure the sector thrives.

Click here to read article on investment and finance.

New opportunities, New Beginning

Better public understanding is needed, not least to ensure awareness of the career opportunities social care can offer.

Click here to read article on new opportunities, new beginning.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Click here to read our conclusions and recommendations

Click here to download 'Social Care - 2020 and beyond' in full. 


Anna Hart

Anna Hart


+44 (0)191 404 4177

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