Independent review of adult social care: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Independent review of adult social care.


The Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland was announced by the First Minister as part of the Programme for Government on 1 September. It will be chaired by Derek Feeley and will report by January 2021.


The principal aim of the review is 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 will take a human-rights based approach.

The Review will consider and make recommendations on:

  • The needs, rights and preferences of people who use services, their carers and families;
  • The experience of people who work in social care, including their employment arrangements, opportunities for training and progression, and relationships with other professions across health and social care;
  • Arrangements for funding, governance, ownership, administration and delivery of social care services;
  • Arrangements for meaningfully involving users in the assessment of need and in co-design and co-production (including self-directed support);
  • Social care and health care service models and their interaction with other services, such as housing, education and employment;
  • Regulation, scrutiny, quality assessment and quality improvement capacity and capability;
  • The role of local communities in providing capacity and assets to support people to live as well and as independently as possible and to enjoy the same facilities, universal services and opportunities as other citizens;
  • The role and contribution of local and system level leadership:
  • Future policy developments that should be a focus for the Scottish Government and any recommendations regarding the legislation that currently underpins social care provision and regulation; and
  • Opportunities to redesign the overall system of social care to improve people’s experience of care.

The review will consider what is required to achieve the highest attainable standard of support for the independence and wellbeing of people who use adult social care services. This will include, but not be constrained to, the following matters:

  • How equitable and non-discriminatory enjoyment of rights can be achieved;
  • How decision-making, participation, independent living and control  can be maximised by people using adult social care services;
  • People’s experiences of adult social care support and outcomes achieved;
  • How individuals’ social care “needs” are assessed by social work, social care and health professionals;
  • The overall quality, and sustainability of current social care services and supports;
  • The need to develop a skilled, purposeful and sustainable adult social care workforce; and
  • The effectiveness of the statutory environment within which adult social care is commissioned, procured and delivered.

Previous and ongoing work around adult social care

The review will consider previous and ongoing work in this field, 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; and
  • 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.

Review outcomes

The review will produce its report by January 2021, which will make such recommendations as the Chair considers appropriate in relation to improving adult social care in terms of any of the matters listed under Remit, and any other recommendations as the Chair considers appropriate.

The Chair has overall responsibility for the report but will ensure that people with lived experience of using social care are at the centre of the review, and fully involved in proposing recommendations for the final report, together with the views of carers and families, members of the workforce and local communities.

Secretariat to the Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland:

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