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Latest figures released on local councils' adult social care spending

*NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures

26 October 2016: New official figures have been published today which outline the total money spent by local authorities on adult social care.

Personal Social Services: Expenditure and Unit Costs, England 2015-16 is published by NHS Digital1 and collects data from the 152 local authorities across England, which are responsible for adult social services.

The report relates to the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 and is used by central government for public accountability, policy monitoring and national accounts, and by local authorities to assess their performance in relation to one another.

The detailed analysis includes the gross current expenditure for all local authorities in England, as well as a breakdown of each individual council's social care spends. It also breaks down short and long term support, the expenditure by primary support reason2 and the type of service3 being accessed.

Also included are unit costs, which give an average cost per person per week for residential care, nursing care and short term care to maximise independence4, broken down by age group and primary support reasons.

This is the first time that the report has included information on deferred payment agreements5. However, these figures are experimental and caution is advised when interpreting this information as data completeness is currently low6.

The full report is available at:


Notes to editors

1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at

2. Expenditure on long and short term care is broken down by the following Primary Support Reasons - Physical Support, Mental Health Support, Learning Disability support, Sensory Support and support with memory and cognition. These Primary Support reasons are then split further by age group - 18-64 and 65 and over. In addition, expenditure data is collected for other social care which includes; Social care activities, Commissioning and service delivery, Information and early intervention, Assistive equipment and technology, Support to Carer, Social Isolation, Substance misuse and Asylum seeker.

3. Expenditure on long term care is broken down by the following support settings; Residential care, home care, nursing care, direct payments, supported living, other long term care and supported accommodation. Short term care is split into short term care to maximise independence and other care.


4. The statistics on short term care unit costs are experimental and as a result caution is advised when interpreting these figures. More information is available in the DQ report accompanying the publication.

5. By taking out a deferred payment agreement, a person can 'defer' or delay paying the costs of their care and support until a later date, the council paying their costs on an interim basis and being repaid at a later date (typically from the proceeds of the sale of their home).

6. The Deferred Payment Agreement collection was voluntary in 2015/16 with 56 of the 152 councils opting to respond to the data request. Not all of these councils provided data for all cells in the return, and therefore data may not be comparable or consistent between councils. Next year's report will be part mandatory, with the following year moving to fully mandatory.

7. For media enquires please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888.

Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:36 pm