Care Act: building social resources for people in the community

The introduction of the Care Act 2014 places a responsibility on Local Authorities to promote people’s wellbeing and to prevent, reduce or delay their need for social care. Building on previous research, researchers from the School of Social Policy and other collaborators are investigating the different ways in which Local Authorities are responding to this challenge and what difference this is making.  In particular, they are exploring initiatives that seek to build the capacity and capability of communities, families and individuals.

This study will be undertaken in interconnecting projects:


Local Authority Case Studies

A diverse mix of case studies will be selected in terms of geography and approach – to include examples of:

  • Local Area Co-ordination / Neighbourhood Networking
  • Asset Based Community Development
  • Family Group Conferencing
  • Strengths based conversations at point of first contact
  • Targeted use of personal budgets

Researching experience, outcomes and costs

In each site, researchers will seek to explore a particular initiative and the implicit and explicit theories of change that underpin this.  Data will be collected on spending, changes in service use and initial indicators of impact. Focus groups and interviews will be conducted with local authority, NHS and voluntary organisation staff, as well as service user and carer organisations. 

Alongside this, questionnaires and interviews will be used to find out what difference it may have made for those for whom the initiative was targeted. This will include the experience of family members and carers.  Rating scales and topic guides based on Amartya Sen’s ideas of ‘capability’ and wellbeing will be used for the first time in social care research – and these will explore the extent of valued social and other opportunities that may be open to people in their daily lives.  We will also seek to establish what difference the service initiative or activity has made to people’s subsequent use of social care and health services.


December 2016 to February 2019

Final Report (2019)

Final Report for the Department of Health and Social Care’ [.pdf]


Professor Jerry Tew (Principal investigator), School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Professor Jon Glasby, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Professor Robin Miller, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Dr Karen Newbigging, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Dr Denise Tanner, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Dr Sandhya Duggal, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Francesca Tomaselli, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham (Administrator)
Dr Philip Kinghorn, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham
Dr Marco Ercolani, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham
Dr Sarah Carr, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
Clenton Farquharson (PPI Lead)

The research will be supported by a Lived Experience Advisory Panel with representation from each of the Case Study sites.