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Relocation, portability and social care practice: A scoping review

Marsland, Dave; White, Caroline; Manthorpe, Jill


Dave Marsland

Jill Manthorpe


Summary The portability of publicly-funded adult social care across local authority boundaries received recent policy attention in England and was addressed in the Care Act 2014. This article presents the findings of a scoping review conducted between July–September 2012 that searched selected journals and online databases for relevant material. The aim of the review was to identify what is known about the experiences of adults entitled to publicly-funded social care who move between local authorities, and the support provided by social workers to those planning to relocate. The review focused specifically on disabled adults and carers, eligible for and in receipt of social care support, who relocate for work or education in England. Findings The review identified little direct research covering experiences of moving between local authorities. However, six specific barriers, challenges and facilitators to relocation were identified; these included the portability of social care support, variations in policy and practice between local authorities, and housing availability. The review concludes that the process of relocation may be complex, challenging, and uncertain, although individuals may experience benefits and positive outcomes. Applications The review outlines areas for good social work practice in supporting people using social care services to relocate. These include: ensuring the provision of information; close working between local authorities and social workers; the development of interim plans to address potential delays in setting up support; proactive and rapid monitoring and reassessment following a move to address potentially changed support needs arising from changed housing circumstances.


Marsland, D., White, C., & Manthorpe, J. (2016). Relocation, portability and social care practice: A scoping review. Journal of Social Work, 16(5), 521-540.

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Apr 24, 2015
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2017
Journal Journal of social work
Print ISSN 1468-0173
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 5
Pages 521-540
Keywords Social work, Disability, Carers, Portability, Relocation, Social care, Social work practice, Work
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in Journal of social work, 2016, v.16 issue 5.
Contract Date Apr 26, 2017


Article.pdf (450 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2016 SAGE publications. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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