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Accelerating Reform Fund

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.

Last updated: 8 July 2024

July 2024 update

As the hands-on support provider for the Accelerating Reform Fund (ARF), SCIE is busy running a series of learning workshops throughout July for project managers and those central to the delivery of each project funded by the ARF. We will share slides, key messages and tools from each workshop on our ARF online sessions, webinars, and slides page following the events.

About the fund

The Accelerating Reform Fund (ARF) focuses 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. They are expected to work collaboratively with others such as the NHS, care providers, voluntary and community sector groups, including unpaid carers. The ARF is supporting 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.

Our involvement

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 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 national evaluation partner Ipsos. Ipsos 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.

Funding allocations and SCIE’s analysis

The DHSC published final ICS funding allocations which go to the lead local authority for each consortium, and, on Friday 15 March, the first £20 million funding allocation was released to support the innovative projects put forward by local authorities. SCIE has provided an analysis summary of the local projects registered. The DHSC set out a list of 12 priorities to guide projects, sitting under the objectives of the 10-year social care vision, and local authorities were asked to identify which priorities their projects met, included in the summary provided.

The analysis includes the make-up of Local Authority consortia and partnerships, the nature of projects, diversity of providers, and identification of initiatives supporting unpaid carers.

SCIE identified emerging trends of project distribution against the priority areas set by DHSC, with some projects sitting across several of the twelve priorities, while others sit squarely with one. From this, we established eight clear themes, grouping projects accordingly.

What happens next?

SCIE will publish a more detailed analysis mid-May, helping to inform and structure learning, and shape the support we provide through the life of the fund. Local Authorities are welcome to publicise the projects they have registered for Fund support locally.

Our support will help local areas develop robust project governance arrangements, defining clear deliverables and milestones, and other key project management areas identified, i.e. objectives, challenges, risks etc. This will aim to minimise duplication, support national scaling and help areas to develop sustainable projects.

Recorded SCIE events include a series of online support sessions for project leads and project team members covering a range of topics including one on evaluation and impact co-hosted with Ipsos. There will also be five in-person events in July across the country. Please do contact us at for any enquiries.

  • Project plan stakeholder engagement – recorded Thursday 9 May.
  • Sustainability – recorded Wednesday 15 May.
  • Coproduction – recorded Monday 20 May.
  • Evaluation and impact – recorded Thursday 23 May.

ARF online sessions, webinars, and slides

Frequently Asked Questions


SCIE support

Local responsibilities/working together



Accelerating Reform Fund: Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us

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