Challenging adult social care decisions in England and Wales


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First published: 28 Feb 2023

Cover image of the report shows a young disabled women smiling for the camera as she buys scones in a cafe

We carried out an inquiry to understand people’s experiences of challenging, or trying to challenge, local council decisions about adult social care or support.

We found:

  • local authorities make daily decisions about people's access to social care. People have a right to challenge them
  • the system for challenging decisions is confusing and subject to long delays ​
  • local authority complaints processes are time-consuming, complicated and stressful
  • people are not given crucial information about how to challenge decisions; they fear that, if they challenge decisions, they will face negative consequences and lose access to care
  • some users are concerned at a lack of independence from the person making the decision
  • data collection and analysis is not good enough, so patterns and trends are being missed

As a result, the system is failing those who need it. People are deterred from seeking help and feel ignored and disempowered. Some people are in crisis and desperate for help.

We have published a report about our findings, including our recommendations for change.

A British Sign Language summary of our inquiry report is available (opens in a new window). 

Download as PDF (1 MB) Download Welsh language version (PDF, 960 KB) Download easy read version (PDF, 741 KB) Download Welsh easy read version (PDF, 628 KB)