Review of adult social care

Expert panel will report by January 2021.

An independent review is to consider the idea of a national care service.

The review, a Programme for Government commitment, will aim to ensure Scotland provides consistently excellent support for people who use these services, as well as their carers and their families.

It will be chaired by Derek Feeley, former director general of Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government, and will report by January 2021.

Adult social care comprises a wide array of services and non-clinical support in a range of settings, involving care homes, care at home, day services, and community support for people with a range of needs.

Social care supports more than 200,000 people across Scotland - those with disabilities, older people, people with mental health problems and those with drug and alcohol problems.

The review will take into account the experiences of those supported by, and who work, in social care, as well as looking at funding, governance, administration and delivery.

The review will consider the needs, rights and preferences of people who use services, their families, and their carers.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This will be a wide ranging review of all aspects of a service which supports and involves so many people across Scotland. I am looking forward to recommendations that help ensure high standards of service and support into the future.

“This independent review will examine how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services - and this will include consideration of a national care service.

“It will also build upon our existing commitments to improving provision - long standing issues in adult social care have been thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic, and they demand our attention.

“We owe it to those who use and work in adult social care services to acknowledge these challenges, to learn from them, and to consider carefully how we can most effective plan for the future.”

Chair of the Review of Adult Social Care Derek Feeley said:

“I am grateful to the Health Secretary for the invitation to chair this independent review and to the advisory panel for agreeing to bring their considerable expertise to our work to recommend improvements to adult social care in Scotland.

“I look forward to views of everyone involved in our social care system and, in particular, to hearing from service users about what it will take for us to better meet their needs, rights and preferences.

“We have a broad remit that touches on every part of the social care landscape; from the experience of those using and working in the system to how it should be funded and regulated. We will look at every option and opportunity to bring about the improvements that I know everyone working in the system aspires to achieve."


The chair of the review Derek Feeley, a former director general of Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government, is also a former Chief Executive of NHS Scotland and former Chief Executive and President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The panel of experts for the review includes: Malcolm Chisholm, former Scottish Minister for Health and Community Care, Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Better Ageing, Caroline Gardner, Auditor General 2012-2020, Councillor Stuart Currie, Ian Welsh, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance and Göran Henriks, Chief Executive of Learning and Innovation in Jönköping, Sweden.

The possible remit and structure of a potential national care service has not yet been set out. It could cover a range of organisational, funding and delivery options, which will be for the independent review to consider.

The Programme for Government can be read online.

The review will also consider previous and ongoing work, including:

  • the programme for social care reform currently being taken forward by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • progress with integration of health and social care in Scotland, including the outcomes of the recent review undertaken by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • work undertaken by the Care Inspectorate to consider opportunities for improving adult social care provision
  • work undertaken by wider partners including the third sector to understand people’s experience of care and support improvement
  • scrutiny by Audit Scotland of social care and progress with integrating health and social care
  • scrutiny by the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament of reform of social care to date and progress with integrating health and social care


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