A group of people from across the country will be brought together to consider the best way to fund adult social care in the first citizens’ assembly commissioned by Parliament.

Findings to be considered by the Committees

The Citizens’ Assembly on Social Care will be made up of up to 50 people chosen to reflect the makeup of the wider population and builds on Parliament’s existing public engagement.

It is being set up as part of the inquiry into the long-term funding of adult social care being carried out by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee.


© Cade Hannan, Steamroller Productions

Over two weekends, the Citizens’ Assembly members will hear from expert contributors with different views on how adult social care should be funded, before discussing the issues and reaching a set of recommendations.

The findings will be considered by the Committees alongside other evidence submitted to the inquiry, which is aimed at finding the best way of funding social care sustainably in the long term and proposals that will command both public and political consensus.

The Citizen’s Assembly is being run by Involve – a public participation charity that aims to put people at the heart of decision-making.

Helping to gauge informed opinion

Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Parliament has been reaching out and engaging with the public for many years. Using a citizens’ assembly takes this further In helping to gauge informed opinion on one of the key issues of the day.

If this proves helpful I hope citizens’ assemblies could be rolled out as a way of helping Parliament to engage with the public ahead of other challenging and complex decisions.”

Ensure sustainable funding system

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, said: “The adult social care system is under huge financial pressure and there is an urgent need to come up with a way of funding the system that will ensure it is sustainable.

Many proposals have been put forward, from using national taxation as a new source of funding through to the introduction of a compulsory insurance scheme, and our inquiry is focused on examining the options and informing the Government’s approach.

A long-term solution is necessary if we are to ensure the right care is available for everyone who needs it. The Citizens’ Assembly has an opportunity to bring forward ideas that could command consensus.”

Explore and build consensus on complex issues

Tim Hughes, Director of Involve, said: “How we fund social care is one of the most important questions facing our society, but it has proved difficult to find political consensus. Whilst citizens’ assemblies have not previously been used by the UK parliament, they have been put to effective use in the UK and internationally to explore and build consensus on complex issues.

We are pleased to be working with the committees to put the public at the heart of finding a long-term solution to funding social care.”

The event takes place in Birmingham on 27-29 April and 18-20 May.

Further information is available on the Citizens’ Assembly on Social Care FAQs page.

The Committees are inviting written evidence as part of the inquiry and other ways to get involved can be found on the Parliament website.


Editor’s notes

The CLG Committee published Adult social care: a pre-Budget report Eighth Report of Session 2016-17 on 28 February 2017 ahead of its ninth report of session 2016-17 on ‘Adult social care’ on 27 March 2017.

The Lords Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS published its report on 5 April 2017.

The Committee previously heard from Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK, Dominic Carter, Senior Policy Manager, Alzheimer’s Society, Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Leonard Cheshire Disability, and Anna Bird, Executive Director of Policy and Research, Scope; Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow in Social Care, King’s Fund, Nick Davies, Associate Director, Institute for Government, Sir Andrew Dilnot, Chairman of 2011 Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, and Professor Martin Knapp, Director of Personal Social Services Research Unit, London School of Economics. A full transcript is available here. 

HCLG Committee: Clive Betts MP (Chair) (Labour), Mike Amesbury MP (Labour), Bob Blackman MP (Conservative), Helen Hayes MP (Labour), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Conservative), Andrew Lewer MP (Conservative), Jo Platt MP (Labour), Mr Mark Prisk MP (Conservative), Mary Robinson MP (Conservative), and Liz Twist MP (Labour), Matt Western MP (Labour).

Media enquiries: Gary Calder calderg@parliament.uk/ 07720 202985 or Oliver Florence florenceo@parliament.uk/ 07720 202 985

Further Information: Follow the Committee on Twitter or visit the Committee’s website.

Health and Social Care Committee: Dr Sarah Wollaston (Con, Totnes) (Chair), Luciana Berger (Lab, Liverpool Wavertree), RtHon Ben Bradshaw (Lab, Exeter), DrLisa Cameron (SNP, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow), Rosie Cooper (Lab, West Lancashire), DrCaroline Johnson (Con, Sleaford and North Hykeham), Diana Johnson (Lab, Kingston upon Hull North), Johnny Mercer (Con, Plymouth, Moor View),Andrew Selous (Con, South West Bedfordshire), Maggie Throup (Con, Erewash), DrPaul Williams (Lab, Stockton South).

Specific Committee Information: email: healthcom@parliament.uk

Media information: Alex Paterson patersona@parliament.uk / 020 7219 1589

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/healthcom

Twitter: @CommonsHealth

Involve press queries: Contact Involve at 020 3745 4334

Twitter: @InvolveUK