The Care Landscape - Making Sense of it all!

Often the ‘language of care’ can be confusing to the uninitiated and those who are new to the sector, let us guide you through some of the important stakeholders and their role in the social care services.

Whether you’re looking for care in England, Scotland or Wales, you’ll find everything you need to know about the organisations and individuals of importance below.

Social Care

Social Care is an umbrella term for all care and support given to adults and children who have care needs because of their immediate environment, illness, disease, old age or poverty.

Local Commissioners, often based within each County, oversee social care provision within their County. This includes funding allocation to both community-based services and individuals who are eligible for state-funded care.

Department of Health & Social Care

The Department of Health & Social Care is a Department of her Majesty’s Government who are responsible for advising health and social care Policy in England.

The Department assists Ministers in shaping health & care Policy and is accountable to agreed policies being delivered.

Minister of State for Health: Stephen Hammond
Minister of State for Care: Caroline Dinenage

Regulatory body England: Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. It is part of the CQC’s job to register all health and social care services in England. The CQC is required to monitor and inspect all registered services for the duration of their registration to ensure that required standards are being met.

When the CQC inspect services they gather evidence about whether the care service is: Safe, Effective, Responsive, Caring and Well Led. They will then rate the service across all 5 areas as well as giving the service an overall rating. From best to worst, the ratings are as follows:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires Improvement
  • Inadequate

A full inspection report is also published which is available to read via the profiles of individual service’s on

Regulatory body Scotland: Care Inspectorate (CI)

The Care Inspectorate is Scotland’s equivalent of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It was founded in 2011 and is the regulatory body for social care in Scotland.

Inspections carried out on social care services by the Care Inspectorate are generally unannounced. Services are graded over a 6-point score:

Score Description Definition
6 Excellent Outstanding or sector leading
5 Very Good Major strengths
4 Good Important strengths, with some areas for improvement
3 Adequate Strengths outweigh weaknesses
2 Weak Important weaknesses - priority action required
1 Unsatisfactory Major weaknesses - urgent remedial action required

The Care Inspectorate lays out an extensive list of standards that it grades care services on. The standards are grouped into 5 patient centred categories:

  1. I experience high quality care and support that is right for me
  2. I am fully involved in all decisions about my care and support
  3. I have confidence in the people who support and care for me
  4. I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support
  5. I experience a high quality environment if the organisation provides the premises

View Care Inspectorate reports for care services in Scotland by visiting:

Regulatory body Wales: Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) is responsible for regulating, inspecting and where necessary, improving health and social care services in Wales.

When the CIW inspect services they are looking for evidence that the service is compliant with required standards. If the service is non-compliant they will issue a ‘non-compliance’ notice. There are 4 core areas which the Inspector gathers evidence against:

1. Well-being
2. Care & Support
3. Environment
4. Leadership & Management

Alongside the full inspection report a summary of the Inspector’s findings are published which includes:

1. Overall assessment
2. Improvements
3. Requirements & Recommendations

View inspection reports for care services in Wales by visiting:

Social Worker

A Social Worker is employed by Social Services and supports people who are in need of social care. Social Workers are normally employed by the Council and are based within the Council offices or local hospital.

The normal route to qualifying as a Social Worker in the UK is to take a 3 year undergraduate degree but it is also possible to take a 2-year post-graduate degree. Social Workers choose which area of social care to specialise in during their training e.g. elderly care, children, mental health, learning disabilities etc.

For people who are eligible for socially funded care, a Social Worker will have conducted a Care Needs Assessment. Normally the Social Worker will search for suitable care services to support people they have assessed and share their complete assessment with the Home Manager/Clinical Lead.

Local Authorities

There are 326 local authorities in England, they are responsible for public services and spending within the area they serve.

For people who are eligible for social funded-care, the local authority will have a defined rate of pay for different care-types e.g. mental-health, learning difficulties, residential care, nursing care and or home-care. The defined rate of pay varies hugely between local authorities. Some care services accept local authority rates of pay whereas some require a third party top-up to meet their minimum rate of pay.

Care Needs Assessment

A Care Needs Assessment is conducted by a Social Worker on behalf of the local authority. To be eligible for a Care Needs Assessment you have to be struggling to look after yourself independently.

The Care Needs Assessment aims to establish what support is required e.g. specialist equipment, mental health support, home care visits or residential/nursing care.

As Local Authority funded care is means-tested, individuals need to share information on their finances to determine whether they are eligible for any support from the Local Authority in funding their care.

For help understanding the Care Landscape in the UK then why not speak to one of our Advisers?

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