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Call for Evidence

Call for evidence

Lifting the veil: Removing the invisibility of adult social care


The House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee was established in 2022 to consider how to improve the planning for, and delivery of, adult social care services in England.

The Committee is now launching a major inquiry, 'Lifting the veil: Removing the invisibility of adult social care’. Adult social care provides services for people from young to old; from those with inherited disabilities from birth to those who become ill, frail and dependent as they move into later life. Across these many different conditions and personal circumstances, people with care needs rely for much of their support, care and independence on unpaid carers; and in many ways, both the people who draw on care and support and their carers are largely invisible.

The inquiry will, therefore, consider how that entrenched invisibility of adult social care impacts on the lives of people across the spectrum who draw on care and support and their carers. It will explore what needs to change to create a fair, resilient and sustainable care system that better enables everyone to have choice and control over their life. In doing so, it will acknowledge the diversity of ambitions and aspirations that individuals with specific care needs have for their lives across all age ranges, and consider how adult social care should enable them to achieve these different goals. This includes understanding the kind of relationships that young and older people who draw on care and support and their families want to have with each other. It will mean looking at how the system can remove barriers to people being full and equal citizens and how formal services can recognise and support the role that carers play.

The Committee invites written contributions by 27 May 2022. It will be holding oral evidence sessions from March 2022 and expects to publish its final report in November 2022. The Committee is keen that the voices of people who draw on care and support and carers are central to its work and wants to hear from people who do not usually feel able to take part in these kinds of discussions, as well as from people who contribute regularly. If there is anything that would help you to contribute, please contact the Committee (  to discuss how your participation could be supported.

The Committee is also keen to hear from people with a wide range of experiences of the adult social care system, for example from people who receive state-funded care, as well as those who fund their own care.

Aims of the inquiry

Given the congested and contentious landscape of adult social care, the Committee is aiming to produce an inquiry that is useful and does not duplicate previous work. This inquiry, therefore, is intended to fill a gap by exploring neglected or underdeveloped areas of provision or policy within the short time period that has been allocated for the inquiry and report. The Committee aims to conclude with practical, near-term recommendations that will add value by effectively contributing to shaping policy-making in that area. We kindly ask colleagues to keep these criteria in mind when submitting written evidence.

Background to the inquiry

Adult social care, as a whole, is often described as ‘invisible’. While people often talk and know about the health service, for example, very few people understand what adult social care is, how it works and why it matters. This means that it can be difficult to bring about positive change on the ground, compared to other, more popular and better understood services such as health or education. This invisibility extends to the millions of unpaid carers across England, whether family members or friends, who support their loved ones to live their lives, often providing more care and support than formal services. People who draw on care and support and carers are incredibly diverse and some people can be very isolated. Many family carers do not define themselves as ‘carers’ and, therefore, do not necessarily benefit from some of the support that is available.

Among the key questions we will ask are: How can we raise the profile of adult social care and increase everyone’s understanding of the important contribution which care makes to society and people’s lives? How can we stop people who draw on care and support and carers from being marginalised and taken for granted? How can people exercise genuine choice and control over their own care and support if society makes assumptions about who is available to provide care and what kinds of relationships families should have with each other? And how can the social care system continue to support people who need it in the future if it does not acknowledge some of the assumptions that it is built upon, such as around the availability of carers, are becoming out-of-date?

In asking these and other related questions, the Committee will seek to reflect on what the meaning of social care should be, and assess how far the system remains from realising that meaning in the everyday lives of people who draw on care and of their families. The inquiry will consider the practical reforms and innovations that, by making care more visible, might enable the delivery of better care and support, and will reflect the ambitions expressed by Social Care Future: ‘We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us.’

What we want to learn from you

The following questions are intended to provide a framework for those who wish to offer their views. You do not need to answer all the questions, just those that are relevant. The Committee welcomes reference to other questions that are relevant and that you wish to draw its attention to. It is helpful if opinions are supported by factual evidence and examples where appropriate. Comparisons with practice in the devolved administrations and other countries are particularly welcome. Above all, the Committee wants to build on the lived experience of people who draw on care and support and their carers and recognises that this is a powerful and important form of evidence in its own right.

The Committee is seeking input on the following questions:

The invisibility of adult social care and its consequences

  1. One of the fundamental challenges facing adult social care is that it is ‘invisible’. Do you agree? What do you think explains this?
  2. What are the key changes that need to be made to reduce the invisibility of adult social care?
  3. How does this invisibility reflect the experience of social care for people who draw on care and support and their carers, and how is this experience different depending on the age range and particular circumstances of those who draw on care and support and their carers?
  4. How would you define the purpose of adult social care? How does the invisibility of adult social care get in the way of achieving this purpose?
  5. To what extent does the definition of the purpose of adult social care differ for younger and for older adults? How can future reform of the adult social care system best address these differences?
  6. What are the key challenges that people who draw on care and support and carers will face in the future, which are not factored into current assumptions related to the social care system, for example the fact that some families will age without children to care for them? How are these challenges different for younger and for older adults who draw on care? What should be done now to address them?
  7. How can other public services (such as the NHS) play their part in tackling the invisibility of adult social care?
  8. What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on adult social care?

Better support for unpaid carers

  1. What, in addition to the support that has already been pledged by the Government, would be the most effective thing that could be done to raise the profile, as well as to improve the identification and support of carers? What examples exist to demonstrate that better identifying and supporting of carers leads to better outcomes for those for whom they care?
  2. How can carers who wish to do so be better enabled to stay in work or rejoin the workforce? What needs to change to achieve this?
  3. What are the key priorities for carers in terms of their own support, wellbeing and resilience? How and where can these best be provided?
  4. To what extent do carers make use of alternative forms of support, such as the voluntary community? Is there any scope for them to draw on those assets more and how might they be enabled to do that? Are there examples where this happens successfully now?
  5. How valued and respected are carers in the overall adult social care system and what are the consequences of failing to value and respect them?
  6. What can be done to make sure that social care professionals recognise the expertise of carers and value them as full and equal partners in care, who are included as part of the whole team, so that there is greater synergy between paid and unpaid care?
  7. Why is the current care system so difficult to access for carers? What needs to be put in place so that carers can simply understand what is available to them as a right and discretion, and the person they support? Do you know of good practice examples? How can these examples be expanded more widely across the system?

Putting co-production at the heart of care

  1. To what extent are the voices of people who draw on care and support and carers shaping the design and delivery of social care, irrespective of their age or circumstances? If these voices are not sufficiently heard, what is the impact of this on those who draw on care and support and carers?
  2. It is often difficult for people who draw on care and support and carers to exercise choice and control if they do not know what good support looks like or what kinds of care and support might be available. What information and support could be helpful to address this and how could it be made available more easily?
  3. We recognise that people with long-term conditions require different support at different points in their lives and that transitions, such as a change in health needs, moving from children to adult services, leaving education, starting a job or moving home, can be particularly challenging. Can you describe the key moments of transition from your experience? How have the formal processes worked during these periods of transition? What could or should have been in place to make these transition moments easier?
  4. What does truly co-produced care look like for younger and for older people with differing challenges and needs? Have you got any good examples to share?
  5. How can we design care and support arrangements which work both for the person drawing on care and support and for those who care for them?
  6. How can people who draw on care and support and carers both be involved in the planning of future services?

Who we want to learn from

Experts by experience

In line with the principled approach that the Committee has committed to adopt, and which is described above, we wish to ensure that every stage of our work is informed by the views of people who draw on care and support and carers. The Committee’s ambition is to embed co-production in its deliberations and final report. We encourage, therefore, experts by experience to contribute their perspectives on the questions raised by the Committee. If you feel that there are any barriers to you contributing, please contact the Committee (  to see how best you could be supported to share your experiences

People with different backgrounds

The Committee encourages people from all backgrounds, with experience of, or expertise in, the issues under investigation, to share their thoughts with the Committee, in the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome. Diversity comes in many forms, and hearing different perspectives means that committees are better informed and are better able to scrutinise public policy and legislation. They can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation.  We are particularly keen to learn from people whose voices are seldom heard and would encourage everyone who wants to contribute to share their views and experiences.

How to submit evidence

Information on how to submit evidence is set out in the annex below. If you have any questions or require adjustments to enable you to respond, please contact the Committee team at

The deadline for written evidence submissions is 27 May 2022.

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy directly.


The deadline for making a written submission is 23.59 on Friday 27 May 2022.

Short, concise submissions are preferred, and submissions longer than 6 pages should include a one-page summary. Please ensure the submission is free of logos and signatures. Paragraphs should be numbered, and submissions should be dated.

Submissions should make a note of the author’s name, and of whether the author is acting in an individual or corporate capacity. Submissions with a university or college address should make clear whether they are submitted in an individual capacity or on behalf of the university or college.

The Committee cannot accept anything that has not been prepared specifically in response to this call for evidence, or that has been published elsewhere.

You should be careful not to comment on individual cases currently before a court of law or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk to the Committee ( how this might affect your submission.

Accepting evidence

Submissions become the property of the Committee, which will decide whether to accept them as evidence. Once you have received acknowledgement via email that your submission has been accepted as evidence, you may publicise or publish it yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. If you publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.

Submissions which are accepted by the Committee as written evidence may be published online at any stage. When it is published as written evidence a submission becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege. It will normally appear on the Committee’s website and will be deposited in the Parliamentary Archives. Submissions which have been previously published will not be accepted as evidence.

Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication but will be retained by the Committee Office and used for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, for instance to seek additional information.

In certain circumstances the Committee may be prepared to accept submissions but not to publish them, in whole or in part. If you would like to submit evidence on this basis you should first discuss this with the Clerk to the Committee (

The Committee may invite individuals and groups who have submitted written evidence, as well as others, to answer questions in a public session in Westminster. They are broadcast online and transcripts are also taken and published.

Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed to the Clerk of the Committee (, whether or not they are intended to constitute a formal written submission.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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