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Accelerating Reform Fund programme

Last updated: 4 January 2024
4 Jan: DHSC publishes draft Memorandum of Understanding

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched a £42.6 million Accelerating Reform Fund (ARF) to boost the quality and accessibility of adult social care by supporting innovation and scaling, and kickstarting a change in services to support unpaid carers.

The Accelerating Reform Fund will focus on embedding and scaling approaches to transform care and support including for unpaid carers, who play such a vital, selfless role in our society. This will accelerate progress towards the government’s social care vision where people have choice, control and support to live independent lives, and where care and support is of outstanding quality and is provided in a fair, accessible way.

Local authorities have registered their interest with the DHSC, in partnership with others, in their integrated care systems, to fund local innovation projects. Local authorities are expected to work collaboratively with others such as the NHS, care providers, voluntary and community sector groups, including unpaid carers.

DHSC has appointed SCIE to provide hands-on support to local areas in developing local partnerships and delivering projects, ensuring participants benefit from valuable shared learnings, peer support and expert insights across the country. With a wealth of trusted expertise in working collaboratively to help local areas transform care, SCIE will help identify issues and challenges, galvanising co-production and ensuring people who need care and unpaid carers are at the heart of the programme.

The ARF will support at least two projects per region, one of which will focus on unpaid carers, and consider co-production with both care recipients and unpaid carers, ensuring they are inclusive of local diverse needs.

The grant includes an initial £300,000 ‘floor’ for each ICS consortium to cover core project start-up costs. The remaining £30 million is intended to cover some ongoing programme costs and how it is distributed will be calculated based on the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula (RNF) at a local authority level. The DHSC has published indicative local authority top-up allocations which will go to the relevant consortium that local authorities join, on this link Guidance for Local Authorities.

The ARF is a learning programme, so SCIE has an essential role in gathering evidence on how to successfully tackle the barriers to scaling up innovation in social care, alongside a national evaluation partner.

The national evaluation partner will be evaluating whether the programme has been successful at tackling the barriers to innovation, the success of SCIE’s support offer, and the ways local areas can continue to scale and adopt new innovations after the grant has been delivered. Projects will be evaluated to inform future decisions on embedding models of care in the community and overcome barriers by providing evidence on efficacy for future practice.

SCIE will continue to run a series of support sessions about the Fund and what’s expected from programme participants.

What is the Accelerating Reform Fund?


SCIE ran two webinars about the ARF programme on 14 and 27 November.

Webinar: Accelerating Reform Fund. Sharing general information about the Fund and how to apply

Webinar: Accelerating Reform Fund. In-depth questions

Frequently Asked Questions


SCIE support

Local responsibilities/working together



Contact us

If you have questions about SCIE’s support as part of the Accelerating Reform Fund programme, please email us.