Most UK residents are not satisfied with social care services provided by local authorities, research shows.
The annual British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, conducted by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust, found that just 26% of the public is satisfied with these services.
This figure is consistent with levels of satisfaction seen since 2014/15 and comes amid continued delays for the Social Care Green Paper, which is expected to set out sector reforms.
Analysts noted that a possible contribution to the low satisfaction rating is a lack of knowledge and experience of social care, with many respondents not knowing who is funding and delivering it, and how to access it.
This would explain a higher proportion of respondents giving a neutral (31%) or ‘don’t know’ (9%) answer.
However, it was concluded in the BSA report that the exact reasons for low levels of satisfaction may be pinpointed to problems in access to and quality of social care services.
Nina Hemmings, researcher in Health Policy at Nuffield Trust, said: “Local authorities in England have witnessed a 49% real reduction in government funding between 2010/11 and 2017/18. And while they have sought to protect their adult social care budgets, support is increasingly reserved for those with the severest needs, meaning fewer and fewer people are receiving publicly funded social care.
“Over half of older people with care needs have unmet needs, and complaints to the Social Care Ombudsman have risen by 169% since 2010/11 – with the most common complaints about councils relating to assessments and charging.”
As in previous years, satisfaction with social care services provided by local authorities is far lower than satisfaction with health care services.
Over half (53%) of the public is satisfied with the NHS, but this is a huge fall from 70% satisfaction levels in 2010.
Long waits for hospital and GP appointments were blamed for the drop.
The survey was conducted on 3,879 people in England, Scotland and Wales. The sample size for the social care services satisfaction question was 973.