Working towards better care
Summary of annual report 2020-21

This is a brief summary of SCIE's year for 2020-21. For a more detailed look, download the full annual report.

Chair's report

SCIE Chair Paul Burstow

This year, SCIE celebrates its 20th birthday. I am hugely proud to be the Chair of an organisation that has contributed so much over that time to research, evidence and new thinking on social care.

This last year has been extremely difficult for social care and all those who draw on support or care for others and SCIE is no exception. Although staff have faced some real challenges, I have always been enormously impressed with their high levels of energy and commitment. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Trustees who have shown unwavering dedication and support through this difficult period.

This coming year is likely to be eventful for social care. We are likely to see a new plan for adult social care, an acceleration in the development of integrated care systems and place-based partnership working bringing health and care closer together, and further discussions around the future of children’s social care, linked to the independent review of children’s social care. I know SCIE, as always, will be at the heart of these discussions.

Paul Burstow, Chair – November 2021

Chief Executive's report

SCIE CEO Kathryn Smith

In June I was at last lucky enough to be able to gather a group of my colleagues in the office to discuss the future priorities of SCIE; one of the first times I have been face to face with them. Whilst we may not be totally out of the woods on COVID-19, the discussion was more optimistic about the future and how SCIE could play its role in influencing better policy and practice in social care.

In last year’s plan, we set out three strategic priorities for SCIE. I think we have made good progress on all three.

Next year, we will continue to work to our strategic areas, but we know that the world of social care is constantly changing.

This year marks SCIE’s 20th Anniversary. It will be time to reflect on what has been a memorable and impactful journey for the organisation. But the future ahead will present many challenges, so we won’t be resting on our laurels for long – we will be charting an exciting new future for SCIE and making sure the next 20 years are just as successful.

Kathryn Smith, CEO – November 2021

Our purpose


A society where care and support maximises people’s choices, removes social inequality, and enables people to live fulfilling, safe and healthy lives.


To research, evidence, share and support the implementation of best practice. We use this evidence and experience to shape policy and outcomes, and to raise awareness of the importance of social care and social work for creating a fair and equal society. Everything we do is informed by people with experience of care and support.

How SCIE works

Our strategy published in 2020 focuses on three strategic areas:

  • Driving improvements in social care locally.
  • Influencing better policy and practice nationally.
  • Supporting better safeguarding everywhere.

What we do

Improving social care locally

  • Local government transformation
  • Person-centred care
  • Children's social care
  • Co-production
Happy family

Influencing nationally

Commissions from:

  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • Social Care Wales
  • Department of Health in Northern Ireland

Think Local Act Personal:

  • National partnership committed to transforming health and care through personalisation

Supporting better safeguarding

SCIE has a national reputation for its expertise in both children's and adult safeguarding.

Our year in numbers

Man using a laptop

3.9 million
Views of social posts

SCIELine subscribers

Visitors to the SCIE site

Webinar registrations

TLAP contributions to national policy

Young people in a meeting

e-Learning delegates

Social media followers

Training delegates

TLAP event presentations

SCIE mentions in Parliament

Our impact: Key highlights

Improving social care locally

Influencing nationally

  • Commissioned by DHSC to undertake a rapid evaluation of the impact of the Discharge to Assess policy on health and care systems including on people with lived experience.
  • Published a new report commissioned by NHS Leadership Academy, How might leadership roles evolve in integrated health and care systems? It explores some of the implications of the Long Term Plan and its supporting plans on leadership within local health and care systems.
  • Published a toolkit drawing on the experience of the Macmillan Local Authority Partnership (MLAP) programme, which SCIE and our partners SQW evaluated, to support practitioners to implement a person-centred, integrated approach to providing care and support to people affected by cancer.
  • Published a paper with the NHS Confederation on the future of place-based integrated care, which explored the role of leaders in shaping local place-based partnerships in collaboration with local citizens.

Supporting better safeguarding

  • Developed a new SAR In Rapid Time methodology as part of the DHSC COVID plan for social care.
  • Began a refresh of the SAR Quality Markers, building on the first national analysis of SARs.
  • Delivered safeguarding audits for Church of England cathedrals, the Bishops Conference of Scotland, and national and international charities.
  • Developed and piloted a safeguarding framework and checklist for user-led organisations.
  • Delivered training and webinar opportunities for faith organisations.
  • Produced bespoke resources to support the sector through the challenges raised by the pandemic.

Future plans: Key deliverables 2021-22

Improving social care locally

  • Work with over 15 different local authorities to help them improve their adult social care offer and demonstrate how they have improved outcomes and experiences for people who use services and carers.
  • 100 per cent of our local authority partners will agree SCIE was critical in helping them think through the challenges and develop and execute a plan which was not just sustainable but greatly improved outcomes.

Influencing nationally

  • Work as a partner and critical friend to government, responding independently and intelligently to new government policy, supporting, and advising on a range of national policy programmes, initiatives, and influencing guidance and practice.
  • Celebrate the tenth year of the Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) partnership which works to promote personalisation and community-based approaches to care and support.
  • Tackle inequalities by engaging in research and using our findings and existing evidence to influence policy, and to promote best practice.
  • Produce high-quality research and evaluations which demonstrate what works and makes the difference in social care, promoting evidence-based good practice.
  • Deliver a new commission on the role of housing in the future of care and support funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, which will revisit the findings of the 2014 commission.
  • Have a clear theory of change and logic model setting out the difference we make and how we make it, showing a direct link between our research and evidence and emerging social care policy, improving the experiences of people accessing care and support.
  • Sixty per cent of our partners will report that they are very aware of our work to improve national policy and practice.

Supporting better safeguarding

  • Expand our nationally recognised safeguarding offer of both case and institutional reviews and audits to support organisations and people to practice safely and keep communities safe working with a further eight organisations.
  • Deliver safeguarding reviews in rapid time which enable the whole system to learn and act on a local incident, keeping more people safe.
  • Eighty per cent of clients who have received safeguarding support from SCIE will report that they are very confident we have made their organisations/services safer.