Making the economic case for adult social care

Martin Knapp Completed   2019


There is a need to:

  • gather economic evidence around adult social care;
  • make it available to decisionmakers (in England and elsewhere) to help inform their decisions;
  • improve understanding of the evidence by providing training and learning materials relevant to decision-makers; and
  • identify adult social care interventions where it is currently not possible to examine the economic case, but that could be taken up in future research.

There is a need to communicate evidence in accessible ways for everyone, not just researchers, in a timely manner. ESSENCE can help raise awareness of the latest unpublished evidence and channel people to the relevant sources of updated economic evidence.


The EconomicS-of-Social-carE-CompEndium (ESSENCE) project collated and synthesised economic evidence from the UK to support decision-making in England’s adult social care system. This approach was taken with the aim of improving access to the relevant evidence in order to provide clearer understanding of the economic consequences of different courses of action in the adult social care system.


Data searches were undertaken across a range of sources, along with a wide-ranging consultation with a variety of experts.

Case summaries that highlighted the relevant evidence in a range of interventions were prepared, and a searchable database of evidence created.


  • Resources are always tight in social care, and these pressures have grown as a result of recent substantial cuts in local authority funding. Difficult choices have to be made about how to use available resources
  • The ESSENCE project collated economic evidence on adult social care services, and made it available to decision-makers, managers, practitioners and users to inform their decisions
  • Data searches were undertaken in various databases. The ESSENCE Toolkit covered a comprehensive collection of relevant research and summarised it with individual case summaries (33) as well as a searchable database of evidence (231 sources)
  • All resources were produced and made publicly available on the project website (


ESSENCE Toolkit –

Making the economic case for social care (The Economics of Social Care Compendium, ESSENCE)
( )
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