Care Act Scenarios Workshop: with local authorities, residential care providers and service user groups


The Department of Health commissioned OPM to conduct a scenario workshop into the potential impact of the Care Act on local elderly residential care markets, including residential care, nursing and dementia care. Based on earlier consultation responses received by the Department of Health, our work focused on the following two changes:

  • Increased transparency around local authority rates (through the allocation of an Independent Personal Budget for self-funders in order to meter their progress towards the cap on costs), and information and advice on the way individuals chose to purchase care.
  • The new ability of individuals to ask local authorities to meet their eligible care and support needs, which may result in them paying a different price for their care.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide a way for a group of people across the ‘whole system’ (in this case the elderly residential care market) to experience potential future scenarios in a safe learning environment.

What we did

We started with 21 scoping interviews with a range of Local Authority (LA) officers, care providers, groups who represent or advise service users and carers and experts in the English care market. These interviews were used to inform the design of the scenario event, held on in November 2014 in central London.

During the day long workshop, participants worked grouped as Local Authorities, care providers and user representatives and at other times came together for facilitated 3-way conversations. For example, participants discussed how increased transparency about rates would be likely to impact on user behaviour, how providers would prepare in response to this and what local authorities would have to bear in mind in to meet obligations under the Act.


DoH Care Act Sim image


We used market scenarios to stimulate the discussion, varying in potential impact of the reforms introduced by the Care Act (based on factors such as wealth, needs and market scale), as well as geographical location, square mileage, population size, rural or urban characteristics and ethnic diversity.

There was an Advisory Panel in the room, who were at participants’ disposal to consult for additional insight, information and clarification.


One of the key findings from the interviews and workshop was the need for greater clarity about the responsibilities of local authorities as a result of the Care Act, and the impact of the cap on personal care costs, and how this is metered. Our report is with the Department of Health’s Social Care Strategic Policy and Finance Team and is being used to inform the implementation of the Care Act.