Free personal and nursing care, Scotland, 2012-13

Information on the number of clients receiving free personal and nursing care services in Scotland, with expenditure figures.

This document is part of a collection

5. Background information on the collection of the data

5.1 Data Sources

A variety of different data sources were used to compile this Statistics Release, as detailed below:

Community Care Monthly key monitoring return

Between 2002 and 2005 the Scottish Executive collected monthly information from Local Authorities regarding the number of residents supported in Care Homes. From 2006, this information was collected quarterly in the community care quarterly key monitoring return.

Community Care Quarterly key monitoring return

Since July 2002, the Scottish Executive has collected quarterly information on the number of people receiving personal care services at home and the number of self-funders receiving free personal care and free nursing care payments. The numbers represent only those people receiving FPC and FNC under the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002.

For Care Homes, this provides a count of those people who are self-funders and are assessed as requiring free personal care and/or free nursing care.

For Home Care, the figures show all people receiving personal care services at home. Many of these people would have received their personal care for free prior to the introduction of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002, but prior to July 2002 this was dependent on local policy and the client's financial status. It is estimated that Local authorities spent at least £64.5 million in 2001-02 on providing personal care services. Full details available from:

The results of the quarterly survey are available at:

A copy of the survey form and notes for guidance is available at:

Free Personal and nursing care expenditure survey

The Scottish Executive carried out a separate survey asking about expenditure on free personal and nursing care for 2002-03 and 2003-04. From 2004-05 onwards this data has been collected through the Local Financial Return (LFR3).

For Care Homes, the numbers represent spend on self-funding Care Home residents who receive FPC and FNC under the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002. It should be noted that Care Home residents who are supported under the National Assistance regulations also receive personal and nursing care for free but these costs are not considered here.

For Home Care, the numbers represent all spend on personal care services provided to people in their own homes.

Copies of all Community Care Surveys are available from the website at:

Home Care Census / Social Care Survey

Information on Home Care services has been collected since the 1980's by means of an annual census. The census covers all Home Care services provided or purchased by Scottish Local Authorities.

An aggregated table return for the Home Care statistical collection was introduced in 1998, called the H1. Local authorities were asked to provide details of all Home Care services provided by their own staff, and in addition, services bought in from other local authorities, and private / voluntary organisations. Information on client age, for level and type of service was introduced to the collection in 2005.

The information collected in the Home Care census was reviewed by the Home Care review group. A revised Home Care statistical collection was introduced in March 2010 which collected information on an individual basis for each Home Care client receiving home help services, meals services and community alarm / telecare services. From March 2013, this was merged with the Self-Directed Support/Direct Payments publication into the Social Care Survey. Further information is available from:

Local Financial Return (LFR3)

The Local Financial Return collects expenditure statistics for each local authority in Scotland. The LFR3 collects all expenditure and income relating to social work services. From 2004-05, questions relating to expenditure on free personal care were added to the LFR3 return. Further information is available from:

Each year, data validation work is conducted on each of these sources before the official publication of the Free Personal and Nursing Care statistics. As part of the 2012-13 validation process, each Local Authority was sent a spreadsheet summarising their statistics and flagging up any anomalies. A blank copy of this spreadsheet can be found on our website at:

5.2 Understanding the Statistics in this Report.

All information in this Statistics Release is presented for the financial year 1st April to 31st March. The Free Personal Care policy began on the 1st July 2002, part way through the financial year 2002-03. We have excluded figures for 2002-03 from this Statistics Release as the data is not for a full year and therefore can be confusing when trying to make comparisons with full years.

Care Homes

In general, care should be taken when comparing the data on 'numbers' of people receiving free personal care and 'expenditure' on free personal care. The number of people receiving FPC and FNC payments is collected at the end of the quarter and represents the number of people receiving payments on the last day of the quarter. These four quarters are averaged to produce the yearly total.

Due to the large number of admissions and discharges throughout the year, these averages do not necessarily represent the number of people receiving FPC for the full 52 weeks of the year. In the year to March 2013, there were 13,000 long-stay admissions to care homes for older people in Scotland (ISD Care Home Census). This represents 250 long-stay admissions every week. It should be noted that these figures only provide a snapshot of the number of people receiving payments at the end of the quarter rather than a precise count of throughput.

Home Care

As with the care homes data, the quarterly data for FPC at home provides a snapshot at the end of each quarter which has been averaged to provide an annual figure. This will not compare directly with the expenditure data which takes into account fluctuations within each quarter. From 2009-10 onwards the Home Care Census (and from 2012-13 the Social Care Survey) has been used to provide the number of Home Care clients at the end of March each year.

5.3 Limitations of the Data

The CIPFA Best Value Accounting Code of Practice (BVACOP), requires the inclusion of overheads within expenditure. For both Care Homes and Care at Home expenditure, since 2006-07 the LFR3 has required Local Authorities to include overheads in line with the BVACOP.

Due to the identification that overheads were not being included consistently within expenditure figures by Local Authorities. In 2011, a revised time series for expenditure on FPNC payments from 2003-04 to 2008-09 was published, after extensive work to ensure that all figures included overheads.

Since the 2009-10 validation exercise, Local Authorities have been asked to confirm if their expenditure figures firstly contained overhead figures and then to either detail the amount included or to provide an estimate of that amount. Two Local Authorities (Perth & Kinross and Renfrewshire) could not provide overhead figures for the 2012-13 validation exercise. Therefore for these Authorities overhead figures have been estimated based on a national average.

For some local authorities it appears that gross expenditure on personal care services at home is higher than overall net expenditure on Home Care services for certain years. This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Where resource transfer from Health Boards has been included as income against Home Care services for older people.
  • Where supporting people grant has been included as income against Home Care services for older people.
  • Where the personal care expenditure includes overheads but the Home Care expenditure returned in the LFR3 did not include an allocation of overheads.

Many Local Authorities have seen a rise in personal care at home costs from 2006-07. The reasons for this are not just increased demand but also:

  • Shift in the balance of care, away from care homes towards more care at home.
  • Introduction of equal pay provision resulting in higher wage costs.
  • Providing refunds to clients for meal preparation where this was previously charged for.

5.4 Support Services

There were several changes to the format of the relevant Local Government Finance return (LFR03) that Local Authorities submitted to the Scottish Government for 2012-13. Most notable was the introduction of a separate "Support Services" row, which includes expenditure on Finance, Legal, Human Resources, IT, Internal Audit, Procurement and Asset Management. This figure would previously have been spread across other rows representing specific service types (e.g. Net Expenditure in Care Homes).

In order to make the 2012-13 figures presented here as comparable as possible with previous years, Net Expenditure in Care Homes and Net Expenditure on Home Care have been adjusted to account for the change in Support Services recording. This adjustment involves apportioning a fraction of the total Net Support Services expenditure for Older People to the Net Care Home / Home Care expenditure. This fraction to be applied is calculated using Gross Expenditure, in order to avoid negative values. The expenditure figures for Free Personal and/or Nursing Care have been validated by each Local Authority to include overheads in line with previous years, therefore these figures have not been adjusted to include Support Services.

5.5 Changes to the data

During the data validation process, some Local Authorities identified errors within data returns this has resulted in previously published figures being revised for some tables. This also means that figures will differ slightly from those within source publications. It should be noted that the revisions made at Local Authority level have had a comparatively tiny effect on the Scotland figures.

5.6 Cost of respondent burden

To calculate the cost of respondent burden to this survey each Local Authority was asked to provide an estimate of the time taken in hours to extract the requested information and complete the survey form. The average time from 8 Local Authorities has then been used within the calculation below to calculate that the estimated cost of responding to this survey is £700.

Cost of respondent burden

5.7 Further information

Further details and analysis of the data presented in this Statistics Release are available on request from the address given below. The Statistics Release is available on the Internet by accessing the Scottish Executive web site: -

Information at local authority level is shown in the spreadsheet accompanying this Statistics Release.

Contact: Steven Gillespie
Basement Rear
St Andrews House

Tel: 0131 244 3777

This statistics release was published on 29th April 2014.


Email: Steven Gillespie

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