Social care reform

The government has announced a new long-term vision for delivering adult social care in England that aims to put people and families at its heart.

The government's 'People at the heart of care' white paper and the Build Back Better plan for health and social care outline a 10-year vision for care and support that focuses on 3 key objectives.

  1. People have choice, control and support to live independent lives.
  2. People are able to access outstanding quality and tailored care and support.
  3. People find adult social care fair and accessible.

It is intended to offer greater choice on how care is delivered, promote independence and enable people to live well as part of a community, as well as providing more support for people working in social care.

There are several different changes proposed. The initial date given of October 2023 for some of these to take effect has already been subject to change, and we will keep this page updated as we learn more. The full white paper is available to view on the website.

Why we need social care reform

As people in the UK live longer, the need for assistance from the adult social care sector grows. This means a larger social care workforce is needed to meet demand, and how social care is funded needs to change accordingly.

The proposed changes aim to tackle these problems in a number of ways.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) assurance

A new Care Quality Commission (CQC) assurance process for adult social care functions is now live for all local authorities. The CQC will visit local authorities to assess how well local authorities are performing against their duties under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014. Kent County Council expect to be visited any time from June 2024 to assess how we're making a difference in Kent.

The CQC assessment

A key part of the updated CQC assessment is how we place people's experiences at the heart of our decisions, and we will be assessed across the following 4 themes:

  • working with people
  • providing support
  • ensuring safety
  • leadership.

Read more about the assessment framework for local authority assurance.

Alongside this, we are already working to deliver our Adult Social Care Strategy: Making a Difference Every Day 2022-2027, that outlines our vision of: "Making a positive difference to people, supporting them to live as full and safe a life as possible" which we'll achieve by focusing on our 3 principles of:

  • putting the person first – always starting our conversation with the voice of the person, focusing on what the person can do and keeping them at the heart of everything we do; developing working relationships people can trust and helping them to achieve outcomes that are important to them.
  • improving all the time – finding innovative ways of helping people and making sure that any support offer is tailored to the individual; learning from feedback from the people we support and building continuous improvements together.
  • measuring what matters – understanding how we are making a difference to the life of the person we support by working with them, our staff and partners.

To be the best we can be, we need to actively listen and make sure our support is delivered in a way that meets people’s individual needs. If we get this right, it will be recognised by the CQC.

Cost of care and market sustainability plan

We have been working with home care providers and care homes for older people to undertake a data gathering exercise in relation to the cost of care in Kent. This includes creating a market sustainability plan and we would like to thank all providers that supported this work.

The documents are available to view:

The documents provide the detail for Kent County Council’s cost of care data gathering exercise and the outputs and conclusion of the results.

Unfortunately, there has been a low overall response rate to the exercise (21% validated returns for Care Homes and 14% validated returns for Domiciliary Care ) which means that we are not able to place any reliance on the sample of data received from providers. In addition to the low response rate, there are also issues with the quality, completeness, relevance and reliability of the data returns. As a result, we do not intend to rely solely on the information in this submission as part of our future fee setting strategy which will continue to be informed by a range of economic, fiscal and market factors taking into account legislative requirements.

We would also like to share our Market Sustainability Plan which aims to outline the current market for 65+ care homes and 18+ domiciliary care in Kent. Read the Market Sustainability Plan (PDF, 162.2 KB).

We asked for your views to help us ensure the final document gives a fair and accurate picture of the care market in 2023. Thank you to those who took part.

If you have a query related to fee uplifts for 2023/24 please contact

Social care providers can get more information:

Charging reform

The government has announced adult social care charging reform is delayed until 2025. This includes the cap on personal care costs, changes to how people fund their own care and changes in capital limits (how much you have in savings and assets and how that affects your eligibility for financial support).

You can read more about these proposals on the Department of social care and health website, but please bear in mind there will likely be some big changes to them over the coming months.

What's next?

Over the coming months, we will be looking for your support to identify how adult social care has made a positive difference, and how we can build on this for the future.

Why not sign up to Your Voice Network to get involved in this work? To find out more, register to receive our latest updates and hear about opportunities to share your views with us and our partners in Kent.