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Local authorities receive 5,100 new requests for adult social care assistance a day

New figures from NHS Digital show that local authorities received 1.8 million new requests1 for adult social care support in 2017-18, an increase of 1.6 per cent on 2016-17 and equivalent to 5,100 new requests per day2

These requests were received from 1.3 million people; those aged 65 and over accounted for 71.6 per cent of the requests3. Similar to previous years, 77.1 per cent of the requests originated from the community4 and 20.1 per cent originated from a discharge from hospital5.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Gross current expenditure by local authorities on adult social care was £17.9bn in 2017-18, an increase of £0.4bn or 2.3 per cent in cash terms6 on 2016-17 (£17.5bn).
  • 77.9 per cent of total gross current expenditure (£14.0bn) was spent on long term care (residential, nursing or community care), an increase of £369m or 2.7 per cent on 2016/17 (£13.6bn).
  • Overall, the number of people receiving long term care provided or arranged by local authorities has decreased each year since 2015-16, down 14,750 (1.7 per cent) to 857,770 in 2017-18.  The numbers of 18-64 year olds in receipt of long term support has increased for the second year in a row, up 7,360 (2.6 per cent) to 292,380 since 2015-16, while the numbers of 65 and over in receipt of long term support has fallen for the second year in a row, down 22,110 (3.8 per cent) to 565,385 since 2015-16.
  • 58.6 per cent of all people receiving long term support are female7.  This increases further for those supported in a residential home (61.9 per cent) and further still when considering those in a nursing home (63.4 per cent).

Adult Social Care Activity and Finance, England 2017-18 is an annual report that provides information on the gross current expenditure of councils on adult social care as well as information on long term care activity, short term activity to maximise independence, and support provided to carers.

Also released today is the Adult Social Care Deferred Payment Agreements report8, which provides experimental statistics9 on the arrangements made with local authorities that enable people to use the value of their homes to help pay for care home costs.  

Measures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework, England 2017-18 is also released today, a compendium of adult social care indicators reported on during the year. This includes information on delayed transfers of care and self-reported social care-related quality of life, levels of control and social contact.  This year, the report has been presented in an interactive and accessible format.


Read the full report

Adult Social Care Activity and Finance, England 2017-18

Notes to editors

  1. New requests are those made by people not currently in receipt of long-term support.
  2. The finance collection does not specifically break down expenditure related to frontline requests and so it is not possible to identify the spend on these activities.
  3. This proportion remains similar to the previous two years.
  4. This route of access consists of requests from clients (or on behalf of clients) based in the community, in residential or nursing care where the client is self-funding, or from any other route of access not elsewhere specified.
  5. The remaining 2.8 per cent is made up of various smaller sources such as planned entry to social care or self-funders with depleted funds.
  6. In real terms, the increase was one per cent.  A comparison in real terms accounts for the effect of inflation between the figures and so allows for the comparison of the corresponding values, while controlling any changes in the value of the pound.  For more information, see Annex B of the report.
  7. ONS population figures show that there are more women than men aged 65 and over,  therefore numbers receiving long term care may partially be a result in differences in the population for this age group.
  8. This is the first time these figures have been published as a standalone report.  They were previously found in Personal Social Services: Expenditure and Unit Costs in 2015-16 and in the Adult Social Care Activity and Finance report 2016-17.
  9. Experimental statistics are published to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage.  There are limitations in the use of this data and all figures should be treated with caution.  For more information, see the Data Quality section of the report.