Previous studies have shown that large proportions of the general population never think about social care, including the possibility that they themselves might need support at some stage. Very few people have therefore thought about preparing financially or in other ways for their future social care needs.
Moreover, the level of understanding of the current adult social care system — how it is organised, funded, eligibility, etc. — is very limited. There appears to be widespread ignorance about how to find out about the social care system or how to access support. This widespread lack of knowledge may be a contributor to the difficulties that providers, commissioners, lobbyists and others in the social care sector often encounter when trying to engage top-level decision-makers in discussion about the state of the social care sector and how well it is resourced.
Existing evidence on the public’s views towards different funding mechanisms is relatively limited. Quantitative research varies, covering a range of funding options and mechanisms, with wide variation in how these are framed in survey questions. From the research that exists, there appears no single model for funding social care that attracts most support. Universal, government provision has strong support. However, qualitative research shows that people do not always accept that there is a need for significant new funding and many believe universal provision can be funded by, for example, transferring funds from other government budgets.
The overall aim of this study is too look at public attitudes to different options for funding social care in England, in the context of an ageing population.