The ESSENCE (Economics of Social care compendium) continuation study: Examining the economic case for a range of adult social care interventions

Martin Knapp In progress  


There are never enough resources to meet all needs. Consequently, decision-makers in central government, local authorities, provider organisations and local community groups – and also individual service users and carers organising or paying for their own care – must consider carefully how to make best use of the resources available to them.

Comparing costs and outcomes of alternatives – which is what economic evaluations seek to do – can be a helpful part of those decision-making processes. Economic evaluations provide evidence about the costs of two or more alternative courses of actions relative to their respective outcomes, with the latter defined as improving independence, satisfaction with support, wellbeing, health and other considerations.

The Economics of Social Care Compendium (ESSENCE) project was previously undertaken at LSE with funding from NIHR SSCR. It reviewed and summarised economic evidence to support decision-making in England’s adult social care system. The aim was to make it easier for decision-makers to access and understand the economic consequences of different ways to meet care needs. Case summaries highlighted relevant evidence on a number of specific adult social care interventions. A searchable online database of evidence was created – the ESSENCE Toolkit.


This study aims to build on the previous ESSENCE project by continuing to review, summarise and update evidence in the ESSENCE Toolkit.


The study will find, categorise and summarise new economic evidence (from studies of services and interventions relevant to the adult social care system in England). Material on the ESSENCE website will be updated to ensure that the evidence is easily accessible. The research team will consult with potential users of the material to help improve the layout and contents of the Toolkit.


Project website: