The concept of social care in the United Kingdom can be described as the activities involved in the voluntary provision of social job, protection, social support or personal care services to the adults and children in total need or the children standing high chances of contracting diseases. It also involves the processes of taking care of the disabled, aged and poor families. These services are always aimed at offering protection for the destitute, improving both physical and mental health of their patients, promoting independence and social inclusion, empowering families to safeguard them from human rights violations due to their weaknesses, and humanising their opportunities and life chances in order to equally cope with the pressures they succumb to in their daily lives. Social care is of numerous kinds including; residential care, domiciliary care, community care, advocacy and even the support for carers in the United Kingdom. Adult care services in the United Kingdom had earlier existed albeit in an unofficial mode, where families, societies and communities provided and supported the physically, emotionally and medically challenged members through a number of charity works. However, its roots can be officially traced from the earliest Act of Parliament (Elizabethan Poor Law in 1601) that provided support for material and emotional care for the needy and physically challenged citizens in the United Kingdom (Davies, 2000). This parliamentary act provided: “care” for the individuals in need of domestic or health Medicaid; the act also gave provisions for increased supply of funds, food, boarding amenities and medical interventions for the patients admitted in the care centres in the United Kingdom. Although, in the wake of nineteen century social care services were officially legalised leading to the collapse of the feudal system. None the less, the industrialisation era in Europe led to social deprivation leading to an increased demand for the development of care facilities governed by clear-cut policies, rules and laws. Even though social care was largely provided by charity and other voluntary organisations, some of their services were later financed by the central government through contributions to health insurance policies in then Great Britain.

Social care services got even much better in the United Kingdom with the inception of social sciences (sociology, psychology and many more) around the twentieth century; this was characterised by a deeper scrutiny and evaluation of the existing social structures in regards to their suitability to their work in fact, this led to the development of social work as a discipline or an area of academic study in the United kingdom curriculum. The liberation and rising to power of the United Kingdom supreme government by 1906 gave rise to a pension scheme that saw all elderly citizens aged 70 and above taken care of in the adult care centres. Lately, in the 1940s England introduced official health and social care provision centres for example, the Welfare State and many more. This in turn prompted the commencement of construction of the numerous adult care centres currently witnessed in the entire United Kingdom (Dearing, 1993). However, the practice of adult social care has seen numerous modifications compared to its initial stages for instance, the practice has lately included the services of both elderly and young carers in the United Kingdom, where a carer refers to an individual bestowed with parental responsibilities for disabled persons to provide, or intend to provide, substantial amounts of care on regular basis for the patients under their custody (Carers UK, 2005).

Adult care policies and Standards

The following principles are standards of fine practice with carers at all stages of the patients’ needs assessment, support planning and monitoring process: First, the carers should be able to identify, upon referral or admission, a vulnerable person and offer full assessment on the patient’s illnesses or problems. However, carers have the right to decline assessment. The carer’s evaluation must always assess the desires and wants of the carer and their capacity to offer and to continue to provide care for the patient cared for without making any assumptions on the carers’ desire to proceed with caring or continue performing certain tasks hence; the effects of caring on carers should be continuously scrutinised to address the desires of carers who (I) are working or wishes to work and (II) are schooling or wishes to undertake education, training or any leisure activity (Yeandle et al., 2007). Their personal needs must be acknowledged by taking into account their cultural disparity, age, inability, race, disability, religious setup, sexual orientation, locality and gender. The privacy of adult and young carers should be always be honoured in order to safeguard them against themselves. Young and adult carers should appreciate from the onset of their careers that their privacy may not be conserved when information needs to be pooled in their interests or others and they also need to be on familiar terms with when this might happen and the way their information will be shared. Conserving the honour of the carer along and the patients they care for is vital and enables the carer and receiver to experience smooth relations in the adult care centres. According to Mather et al (2000), carers should always be concerned and support planning for the patients they care for not unless there are documentable reasons not to. They should as well have assessments in their own right and documented as individual Carer’s assessment in order to boost the planning and reviewing process ensuring the collection of realistic information of the care a carer is capable of providing and whether the caring role would be sustainable. However, the carers’ refutation to offer an evaluation should never be used to victimise the carers and deprive them from offering their support to the adult care centres (Becker & Bryman, 2005). Even though, the assessment of risk and safeguarding the carer and cared for is always given a high priority, professionals should constantly be on the watch to avoid safeguarding issues disturbing the carer or cared for in the care centres. In fact, Hubbard et al (2008) proposes that after provision of adequate evaluation, the carers should provide updated information the type on local support with education, training, employment and leisure required by individual patients in order to provide opportunities for trainings on health and safety matters including moving and handling, health care and medication and patient safeguarding measures. Moreover, Twigg & Atkin (1994) argues that carers should obtain a copy of their assessment and support plan in line with the patient/person they care for with their consent. Carers must also be concerned with planned moves of the patients to residential or independent care; and should be provided with maximum support when their caring services comes to halt as the result of the cared for person moving to independent living or residential care or if they die in the process (Clements & Thompson, 2007).

Assessing Adult Needs

When an individual with community care needs is being assessed and their carer requests an assessment, the process should be as follows: carers must be given the chance to prepare for the assessment through questionnaires and sent within a 5 day period before the assessment interview after which the carer should be told of the carers support service to permit them to seek advice where necessary on their evaluation (Carers England, 2002). The information on the weak person must be collected in the normal way for instance, all those needs that s/he identifies as existing as well as those that the evaluating officer also identified. As part of preparation for assessment and support planning consideration will be given to the equality impact of gender, gender identity, religion, age, race and sexuality and the possible impact that these will have. The carer’s assessment should evaluate the sustainability of the caring role to ascertain whether the carer is willing and able to carry on caring and/or providing the same level of care. According to Becker (2008), the risks to sustainability always include the nature of the caring role, the health and wellbeing of the carer, employment, education & training, finance and benefits and emergency planning. The assessor must also ensure that they obtain full information about services and support available for carers, while the carer must find an opportunity to discuss issues and record concerns and needs as part of the assessment process since, only then can a carer fully participate in planning the service to produce the best outcomes both for themselves and the person cared for. The carer and cared for may be concerned about the future if the cared for person loses capacity. The professional must give information about the court of protection and the powers of strong power of attorney. Therefore, young carers may also be identified by evaluating other siblings or parents in the family for example, in the case of a disabled child who may have their needs assessed, their siblings may be identified as providing important level of care to their brother or sister or it may be seen that the disabled child’s needs so significantly affects the sibling that relieving services should be given (Dearden & Becker, 2005). In fact, in cases of concern that the child may endure major injury, the Children’s Services will have lead responsibility with input from adult services which will think about the use of community care services to lessen the caring task of the child or young person since, adult and children’s services should work hand in hand with the vulnerable adult and the young carer concerned to co-ordinate planning for the cared for.


From the above discussions it is clear that the chief consideration at all times will be to curb the needs of the carer with support being given to the adult patients concerned to avoid over dependence of the carers by providing more than one caring role to different grown-up members of a family unit; it is the duty of the evaluating officer to certify that the assessment takes into consideration all dimensions of the carer’s numerous caring roles except for young carers that requires joint departmental approach (Mather et al., 2000). The support preparation should identify the carers support worker and any other professionals or institutions taking part and stipulate initial and ongoing support which is to be provided for: Health and emotional welfare; improved life quality; making positive contributions; maximising choice and control; maintaining individual’s honour and respect; freeing carers and the cared for from discrimination and harassment; and improving their economic power.



















Becker, S. & Bryman, A., 2005, (eds) Understanding Research for Social Policy and Practice: Themes, Methods and Approaches, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Becker, S., 2000, ‘Young carers’, in Davies, M. (ed) The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Work, Oxford: Blackwells Publishers.

Becker, S., 2008, ‘Informal family carers’, in Wilson, K., Ruch, G., Lymbery, M., & Cooper, A., (eds) Social Work: An Introduction to Contemporary Practice, London: Pearson Longman.

Carers England, 2002, Hospital discharge practice briefing, London: Carers UK Publishers.

Carers UK, 2007, Real Change, Not Short Change: Time to Deliver for Carers, London: Carers UK Press.

Clements, L., & Thompson, P., 2007, Community Care and the Law, Legal Action Group, London:

Dearden, C., & Becker, S. 2004, Young Carers in the UK: The 2004 Report, London: Carers UK.

Hubbard et al., 2008, Reimbursement in practice: The last piece of the jigsaw? London: University of Leeds Press.

Mather, J. et al., 2000, Carers 2000. London: Office of National Statistics Press.

Twigg, J., & Atkin, K., 1994, Carers Perceived: Policy and Practice in Informal Care, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Yeandle, S, Bennett, C, Buckner, L, Fry, G., & Price, C., 2007, Diversity in Caring: Towards Equality for Carers, London: University of Leeds and Carers UK.

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