The continuity of social care when moving across regional boundaries

Marsland D, White C, Manthorpe J

Journal of Social Work 2019, 19, 5: 557—577

Available online 30 Mar 2018


This paper reports the experiences of adults in receipt of social care when relocating to new local authorities, and of family carers. While many matters need to be considered when moving, the study focused specifically on the ‘portability’ of social care. The study draws on data from semi-structured interviews conducted between July and November 2013 with 12 adults who had relocated between English local authorities. Data were collected prior to the implementation of the Care Act 2014; the potential impact of the Act in respect of relocation is considered.

Although some positive experiences were identified, participants primarily reported challenges when moving with social care support. Five themes were identified, these related to the amount of organisation, planning and activity required; the need for a timely approach and the risk of delays and interruptions to care delivery; differences between the practices of local authorities; a lack of control and involvement; a negative impact on emotional and physical well-being. As a result of such difficulties, some experienced delays or interruptions to their care and support; lost all or some of their care package; experienced stress, anxiety and worry.

The paper documents the experiences of people relocating with social care support, which have been little explored to date within the UK or internationally, and contributes to the evidence base in respect of relocation and portability of care. It highlights the importance of smooth transitions for those relocating between local authorities, and the potential for social workers to assist by addressing potential problems.