Councils don’t track care enquiries despite rising costs

by | Mar 16, 2022

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  • Number of councils recording enquiries drops 18% and no councils in the East Midlands, East of England and South East keep data, Key FOI shows
  • Just 6% of Councils make no changes to cope with Covid-19
  • Nearly 600,000 receive some care funding from councils, Key’s Care Report: Tackling the Care Question shows

Local councils are not tracking enquiries about adult care despite rising costs and an ageing population making the need for accurate information more vital than ever, Freedom of Information data from Key the later life finance specialist shows.

Failing to track enquiries is leaving councils at risk of sudden surges in demand for care and pressures on their already strained budgets, Key warns. The number of local authorities that record enquiries from members of the public looking for adult care has dropped 18% from the previous year. Councils in Yorkshire where 29% recorded enquiries were the best performers in the country but in the East Midlands, East of England and the South East no councils claimed to recorded enquiries.

Key’s Care Report: Tackling the Care Question – the third it has published since 2019 – asked councils across Great Britain about demand for adult social care and also questioned over-55s about how they would like to receive care in the future and how they’ll pay for it. Nearly two out of three (64%) of over-55s said they would prefer to receive care in their current home or one they move to, the research found.

Rising costs for councils


The number of people receiving financial support for care rose 15% to 598,494 in the most recent figures which were recorded as the UK entered the COVID-19 crisis reflecting the impact of an ageing population on council finances.

Around 40% of the people receiving care were fully-funded. That rises to 76% in the North East and 64% in the East of England and drops to 19% in Yorkshire and 24% in the West Midlands.

The impact of COVID on council finances


Just 6% of councils questioned made no changes to adult care provision during the pandemic with 71% increased their funding for care homes and 71% increased the number of regular check-ins for shielding adults.

More than half (56%) set up a new hotline or phone number for Covid-19 queries, 55% boosted the number of people assigned to support vulnerable adults and 48% increased the number of social and care workers they employ increase. Just one in 20 (5%) provided local authority tax relief to care homes.


East of England 100% 66.67% 16.67%
South West 62.5% 62.5% 6.25%
London 68.57% 74.29% 8.57%
Yorkshire 92.86% 85.71% 7.14%
South East 66.67% 66.67% 0
Scotland 48.39% 58.06% 3.23%
North West 86.96% 86.96% 0
West Midlands 64.29% 57.14% 14.29%
East Midlands 77.78% 77.78% 11.11%
Wales 77.27% 81.82% 9.09%
North East 61.54% 53.85% 0
GREAT BRITAIN 70.15% 70.65% 5.97%


Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “Today’s report highlights the extreme pressure that local councils are under and the hard choices that they need to make to balance the books. That said, it is extremely concerning that they are not recording the number of people who contact them with regards to adult social care as this makes resource planning far harder as a time when it is vitally important.

“With changes to how the country approaches care due to come into force in October 2023, the next 18-months will be critical as councils, consumers and the organisations that support them work to prepare. As this progresses, it is worth bearing in mind that 64% of people are keen to receive care in their own homes and there are already a variety of funding options including equity release which support this desire.


“The hard truth is that even with the additional funding, most people will need to pay something towards care in older age if they need this. As a country, we need to face the care challenge and make smart sustainable choices that benefit all members of society.”

Jacqueline Berry, Director at My Care Consultant, comments: “Local Authorities across the UK have faced increasing demand for later life care services in recent years, something that the pandemic has compounded, leaving resources stretched and substantial backlogs of requests for support. With the government’s planned introduction of the care cap in England due Oct 2023, Key’s annual report highlights the reality that for many Local Authorities, meeting the challenge of delivering against the government’s proposals for care is only going to bring about more pressure on their resources.

“Given this backdrop and the reality that many individuals will still have to pay significant amounts towards their care, understanding the limitations of the government’s proposals and preparing for future care costs as early on as possible has arguably never been more important.”


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