Social care questions for over 65s

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has developed a module of questions designed to reflect recent social care developments in England and Wales. 

Specially designed to help interviewers makes sense of complex care arrangements, the questions untangle the contributions of Local Authority and private care services, different payment models and related benefits and the provision and receipt of informal care.  

The module of questions cover:

  • Respondent's ability to carry out activities of daily living.

  • Respondent's need for and use of:

    • Formal community-based social care services.

    • Informal care by relatives and friends.

  • How often and how regularly social care services are used.

  • How respondents pay for social care services including:

    • Direct payments and personal budgets for care.

    • User contributions and/or charges for social care services.

    • Privately-purchased care.

  • Use of community equipment, 'meals on wheels' and day care.

  • Respondent's involvement in providing care to others.

You can download the new question module and an accompanying development report from the NatCen website from 12 November 2010.

How the questions can be used
The module can be used in economic evaluations and is suitable for longitudinal or cross-sectional population surveys that cover community-based care. The Health Survey for England is including the module in 2011.

The development of the questions
In 2009 the project team carried out a literature review of relevant economic evaluations and a review of existing questions to identify data gaps. They then conducted qualitative research with stakeholders, service providers and service users. This reseach informed the initial design of the questions, which were then subject to expert evaluation and two rounds of cognitive question testing.

Project details



Raphael Wittenberg, Personal Social Services Research Unit, LSE

Ruth Hancock, Personal Social Services Research Unit, UEA

Grant amount and duration


July 2009 - June 2010