In 2015–16, there were over 800,000 people receiving long-term care and support (more than 12 months) from adult social care. Services also responded to a further 1.8 million new requests for care and support (including short-term support; Community care statistics: social services activity, England – 2015 to 2016 report NHS Digital). The core purpose of adult care and support is to help people achieve the outcomes that matter to them in their life. People's experiences of care and support, and the extent to which they feel supported to live their life as they want to, are therefore of key importance.

In 2016, 64% of respondents to the annual personal social services adult social care survey said they were either extremely or very satisfied with the care and support they received. However, only 33% said that they had as much control as they wanted over their daily life; 18% said they had some, but not enough, control and 6% had no control at all.

This guideline is developed in a context of working towards better integration of health and social care, and complements NICE guidelines on patient experience in adult NHS services and service user experience in adult mental health. For people who use services, integrated care means joined up, coordinated health and social care that is planned and organised around the needs and preferences of the individual, their carer and family (Think Local Act Personal's care and support jargon buster). Relevant to this is the Care Act 2014 that places a statutory duty on local authorities to integrate health and social care and related services where this promotes wellbeing, and prevent, reduce or delay needs.

This guideline covers good practice in the care and support of adults, including people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory impairment, and mental health or physical conditions. It aims to improve peoples' experiences of care and support services. It is based on evidence about the views of people who use services on what is important to them in their care and support.

What is the status of this guidance?

The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory. Different types of NICE guidance have a different status within the NHS, public health and social care. Although there is no legal obligation to implement our health and social care guidance, health and social care practitioners are actively encouraged to follow our recommendations to help them deliver the highest quality care and support. Our recommendations are not intended to replace the professional expertise and judgement of practitioners, as they discuss care and support options with people.

How has it been developed?

The guideline has been developed by a committee of people who use services, and carers and professionals. It has used information from a review of research evidence about people's experiences of care and support, and from expert witnesses. The committee also gave careful consideration to the potential resource impact of the recommendations. The included recommendations are considered to be aspirational but achievable.

How does it relate to legal duties and other guidance?

This guideline does not replace statutory duties and good practice as set out in relevant legislation and guidance, including:

This guideline aims to complement legislation and guidance by providing evidence-based recommendations about how to improve people's experiences of care and support. Actions already required by law, or recommended in guidance, are not replicated here unless there was evidence to suggest that these were not happening in practice, or were of particular importance to people's experiences.

More information

You can also see this guideline in the NICE Pathway on people's experience in adult social care services.

To find out what NICE has said on topics related to this guideline, see our web page on adult social services.

See also the guideline committee's discussion and the evidence reviews (in the full guideline), and information about how the guideline was developed, including details of the committee.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)