Adult Social Care: independent review


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On 1 September 2020 the First Minister announced that there would be an Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland as part of the Programme for Government. The Review was chaired by Derek Feeley, a former Scottish Government Director General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland. Mr Feeley was supported by an Advisory Panel of Scottish and international experts.

The principal aim of the review was to recommend improvements to adult social care in Scotland, primarily in terms of the outcomes achieved by and with people who use services, their carers and families, and the experience of people who work in adult social care. The review took a human-rights based approach.

The Independent Review concluded at the end of January 2021 and its report, together with an accompanying short film, was published on 3 February 2021.

Read the report here.

Read the easy read version of the report.

View the short film.

There is a BSL version of the video available.

If you need the report in a specific format please email

Three phase approach

To ensure the Independent Review was thorough, robust and accessible as possible, the chair, Derek Feeley, developed a three phase approach to undertaking the work.

These three phases broadly included:

Phase one

The Review focused on developing a deep understanding of the needs, rights, and preferences of people who are using social care services. It examined how and in what circumstances these are currently being met well and what needs significant improvement to ensure people’s outcomes are consistently met on a personalised basis across Scotland.

The Review looked closely at the experience of staff working in the social care sector.

This phase was  undertaken primarily through an open enquiry process of large scale engagement. The Review heard from a wide range of people and organisations including those who have lived experience of using social care services and supports, carers and families. It  also spoke to staff working in the social care sector and their representatives, including Trades Unions, providers, third sector and local community organisations, independent sector organisations, regulation and scrutiny bodies, social work representative bodies, statutory sector leaders, representative organisations and staff, including in local authorities, Integration Joint Boards, and NHS Boards – and more.

Independent Review of Adult Social Care: engagement programme

Phase two

Using the information and evidence derived from the first phase, the Review considered what change is needed and what the options are for a social care system that delivers on the needs, rights and preferences of people using services and improves the experience of staff working in social care. The Review also drew on evidence from academic papers, parliamentary inquiries, analysis from statutory bodies and reports from representatives of social care users and providers, as well as available learning from other social care systems.

Phase three

In this phase, the Review considered funding, delivery, governance and regulation, and how continuous improvement can be assured. It also considered the interface of social care with health, housing, local communities and other related services and supports, as well as the role of people using services in delivery and how they can be meaningfully involved in assessment processes and participate fully in decisions affecting their life, and the social care services and supports they are able to access. 

Evidence and written submissions

There was an open invitation to submit views, papers and evidence to the Review by 6 November 2020. Organisational and representative bodies’ submissions are available as supporting documents alongside the report.

Support to the Review from the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

The Review’s programme of engagement was supported by the ALLIANCE to ensure a strong focus on people who have lived experience, carers and the third sector.  Brief reports identifying key messages from these sessions are available. A final engagement report was produced by the ALLIANCE on the sessions they supported.

Links to other key national reviews and organisations

The Review made links to other national reviews underway in Scotland, including the Independent Care Review – The Promise, and The Review of Mental Health Law. It also established links to the Fair Work Group and the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership.    


  • Malcolm Chisholm, Former Scottish Minister for Health and Community Care 2001 – 2004
  • Anna Dixon: Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
  • Caroline Gardner: Auditor General 2012–20
  • Stuart Currie: East Lothian Councillor
  • Göran Henriks: Chief Executive of Learning and Innovation, Qulturum, Jönköping County, Sweden
  • Ian Welsh: Chief Executive, the Alliance
  • Jim Elder-Woodward: Chair of the Scottish Independent Living Coalition (SILC)





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