Skip to main content

Publication, Part of

Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, England - 2019-20

National statistics, Official statistics

National Statistics

2. Requests for Support

This chapter shows the number of requests for support received by local authorities from new clients (those clients not currently in receipt of long term support) and the outcome of those requests (Only those requests for which an outcome, also known as a sequel, had been determined in the reporting period are included in these figures. As such, these figures may include requests received in the previous year where the outcome was determined in 2019-20). Depending on the structure in each local authority, these requests may be received directly into adult social care departments, into partner agencies such as mental health trusts, via a contact centre handling all requests for support from the local authority, or a combination of any of these.

The finance collection does not specifically breakdown expenditure related to frontline requests and so it is not possible to identify the spend on these activities.

Key Findings

In 2019-20 there were over 1.9 million requests for support from new clients received by local authorities

Please Note: some local authorities advised us of methodological changes in how they now report requests for support, which impact year on year comparisons. This should be considered when analysing the data, and particularly when considering local trends.

A total of 1,930,560 requests for support were received from new clients by local authorities in 2019-20, compared with 1,914,535 requests for support in 2018-19. This equates to an average of 5,290 requests for support from new clients received each day, up from 5,245 last year. Those aged 65 and over accounted for 71.0% (1,370,205) of all requests.

Data is collected on how many clients these requests relate to. In 2019-20, there were an average of 1.4 requests for support per person as the 1,930,560 requests for support were made by 1,360,185 clients.

As can be seen in Table 13 of the reference tables, the East Midlands region reported the largest number of requests for support per client with 1.6 requests per client. Yorkshire and The Humber region reported the lowest number of requests per client (1.3).

As seen in Figure 7 below which shows the number of requests for support per 100,000 adults, the Yorkshire and The Humber region had the highest rate for both clients aged 18-64 (2,695 requests per 100,000) and 65 and over (17,840). At a local authority level, North East Lincolnshire had the highest rate in the country for clients aged 18-64 (7,535 requests per 100,000 adults compared to the England rate of 1,650). In the 65 and over age band St. Helens was the highest with 40,320 requests for support per 100,000 adults compared to the England rate of 13,235.

Figure 7: Number of requests for support per 100,000 adults, by age group and local authority, 2019-20

Source: SALT Collection, 2019-20, NHS Digital - See Table 12 in Reference Data Tables

A client can request social care support while detained in prison. This route of access was made mandatory in the 2017-18 collection, although not all local authorities in England have a prison within their area. There were 2,530 (0.1% of all requests) requests for support via a prison route in 2019-20, up 345 requests since last year.

Route of access

Although requests for support have increased over the last five years, the proportions of requests for support by route of access have remained largely similar. The majority of all requests (77.0%, 1,486,565) originated from the community. The next highest category was discharge from hospital, where 20.3% (391,745) of all requests originated from. Planned entry, diversion from hospital, self-funders with depleted funds and prison referrals made up the remaining 2.7% of requests.

As seen in Figure 8 below, the proportion of requests differ by age group with a higher volume of 65 and over clients requesting support at the point of discharge from hospital.

Figure 8: Proportion of requests for support, by route of access and age, 2019-20

Source: SALT Collection, 2019-20, NHS Digital - See Table 9 in Reference Data Tables and previous publications

Outcomes to requests for support

The outcome of the request for support can be categorised into three main support areas; short term care to maximise independence (ST-Max), long term care, and other support. Around one in eight requests (12.6%) resulted in clients receiving short term care to maximise independence and 8.6% of requests resulted in long term care being provided to the client. These areas of support are covered in more detail later in the report.

Figure 9 below shows how outcomes of the requests for support by new clients differ by age group.

For 18 to 64 year olds, 5.6% of requests resulted in the client being offered ST-Max whereas for clients aged 65 and over, 15.4% of requests resulted in ST-Max.

Just over a third (36.0%) of requests from 18 to 64 year olds resulted in no services provided compared to just over a quarter (26.5%) of requests from those aged 65 and over. Where no services were provided, there were 33,755 requests where the client died after requesting services, but before receiving any.

Nearly one in three requests for support from 18 to 64 year olds resulted in universal services (see glossary in Appendix C). This is an increase of 12,075 requests since last year and as a proportion of all requests for clients aged 18-64 has risen from 30.8% in 2018-19 to 32.4% in 2019-20. In comparison, one in four (25.9%) requests for support from clients aged 65 and over result in universal services.

When compared to 2018-19, for all ages combined there has been a shift away from ‘Ongoing Low Level Support’ (17.7% of all requests in 2018-19 decreasing to 15.3% in 2019-20) and an uplift in ‘No services provided’ (26.3% of all requests in 2018-19 increasing to 27.5% in 2019-20).

These outcomes to a request for support can sometimes be difficult to interpret and should not be seen as reflecting negatively on a local authority, but more as a statement about the nature of request for support that was made.

Figure 9: Overview of requests for support relating to Adult Social care received by local authorities, 2019-20

Source: SALT Collection, 2019-20, NHS Digital - See Table 10 and 11 in Reference Data Tables


Last edited: 24 May 2021 1:03 pm