By changing the story of social care, we can build public support to transform it for future generations – here’s how

We’re delighted to be publishing our new research and practical guidance on how to build public support to transform social care.

This work is the culmination of research and development involving and supported by members of the #socialcarefuture movement.  We did not believe that we would be able to make progress on securing the future we wanted without changing the prevailing ways social care is talked about and thought about: as a broken system in crisis that ‘looked after vulnerable people that cannot look after themselves.’  So, inspired by other movements for change, we set about learning how to do so.

Over the past year, with our partners Equally Ours, research company Survation and a brilliant working group drawn from our movement, we’ve been exploring how to shift how people think and feel about social care. 

We have found that our new narrative not only causes people to express a greater understanding of and support for the values, principles and ideas promoted by #socialcarefuture, but crucially, that through doing so, people express greater support for investment and reform overall.   The research found that following exposure to our new narrative and messages, people were more likely to regard social care as:

More important to themselves & those close to them

As benefiting both those who need support and the wider community

A greater priority for government above other areas of policy

More worthy of investment by central government

Capable of being transformed

The route to doing so was by shifting how people thought about, felt about and understood social care.   Following exposure to the narrative people were also:

significantly less likely to associate social care with paternalistic ideas such as vulnerability

far more likely to associate it with words such as independence, community and relationships

More people also agreed with the statements that:

‘social care is about people having the support to live how, where and with whom they choose to’

‘social care draws together relationships and support’

‘living how we choose to live is dependent on the strength of the relationships that we have’

Of course, this is how our narrative and messages performed in the ‘laboratory’ of public audience research.  To have this impact in the real world will demand that more of us make use of and build upon this research and guidance, consistently, repeatedly and proactively.   To those ends, it’s been great to see lots of people and organisations already begin to adapt the way they talk about social care based on the advice we have shared.  Our vision has already been adopted by prominent national actors, from the Local Government Association to the Alzheimer’s Society, as well as across the political spectrum in the UK Parliament.  Some local councils, such as Kirklees, have embedded it in their own vision for the future of social care in their local communities.  Many of our members are taking this framework for communicating well, and using it in their own storytelling.

For #socialcarefuture to do more, we’ll need more support.  Some things we would like to do or to offer include:

  • An animation telling our new story
  • Companion work to change the visual story of social care
  • Bespoke advice and support on how you can adapt your messaging in light of the research
  • Free/affordable workshops on good strategic communications practice
  • To build on this work and share more advice, guidance and share examples of good practice via a new digital platform

If you are interested in and able to support any of the above ideas please get in touch to discuss

In the meantime, you can download the research and guidance here:

Plain text versions

Click to read Survation’s full research report for #socialcarefuture on how to build public support to transform social care

You can also read our new blogpost 5 tips for changing the way people think about social care

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  1. […] of something bigger and ongoing.  I was paid as a consultant for some of the work I led on the research and guidance on how to change the story of social care to build public support to transform….  I managed the overall project, co-commissioned the research with Equally Ours, reviewed the […]


  2. […] April, we published the culmination of our research into how to build public support for our vision and approach fo….  We want to support as many of you as possible to put this approach to communications and […]


  3. […] Since we began in 2018, #SocialCareFuture has highlighted the power of narrative to act as an enabler or barrier to building the future we want to see.  Inspired by other social movements, we set about co-developing a fresh vision and story of change, and then testing and refining it via public audience research.  […]


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