Adult Social Care

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

The Care Act 2014 implements our recommendations in England. It received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, which implements our recommendations in Wales, received Royal Assent on 1 May 2014

The adult social care project was concerned with reviewing the law relating to the provision of adult social care in England and Wales.

The legislative framework for adult residential care, community care, adult protection and support for carers is inadequate, often incomprehensible and outdated. To this day, it remains a confusing patchwork of conflicting statutes enacted over a period of 60 years. There is no single, modern statute to which service providers and service users can look to understand whether (and, if so, what kind of) services can or must be provided.

The overall aim of the project was to provide a clearer, modern and more cohesive framework for adult social care.


On 11 July 2012 the Government issued a response to our report and a draft Care and Support Bill implementing our recommendations. We issued a statement welcoming the Government’s response.

On 8 May 2013 we were pleased to welcome the announcement in the Queen’s Speech of the Care Bill for introduction during the new Parliament. The Bill was introduced into the House of Lords by Earl Howe on 9 May 2013, receiving Royal Assent on 14 May 2014.

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill, implementing our recommended reforms to adult social care in Wales, was laid before the National Assembly for Wales on 28 January 2013. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 1 May 2014.

The Care Act 2014 sets out a new legal framework for the provision of care and support services to older and disabled people, and their carers, plus safeguarding vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect.  The Act will come into force in April 2015.

The Care Act Manual (2014) by Tim Spencer-Lane provides a comprehensive and crucial guide to the new legislation.  It gives the practitioner text on all aspects of the new Act.  A further description of the Manual and details of how to obtain it are available.

The project

We published a scoping report on 26 November 2008, which delineated the scope of the project and provided a detailed agenda for reform. The scoping report is available below.

On 24 February 2010, we published a consultation paper setting out a number of provisional proposals to reform the law governing adult social care in England and Wales. We then undertook a broad public consultation on these provisional proposals, which closed on 1 July 2010. The consultation paper and analysis of responses are both available below.


Documents and downloads

Project details

Area of law

Public law