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The operation of easements under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to England’s Care Act 2014


To investigate how the changes of the Coronavirus Act were put in place in social care. We want to find out what has happened so that any future emergencies can draw on these lessons. We have three main questions:

  • Of the councils that changed practice under the Coronavirus Act – particularly its easements of their Care Act duties (affecting what they MUST do) – why did they do this, what changed, and what did staff do?
  • What was the impact of these specific changes on people using services – and carers?
  • Did the changes under the Coronavirus Act enable these local councils to meet urgent and acute needs?




NIHR School for Social Care Research


Document and policy analysis; interviews with national experts; case studies of the authorities that used Coronavirus Act easements that will include professionals and service users and interviews with senior staff in 10 local authorities that did not use easements.


As well as the summaries of findings and key messages for SSCR we will produce materials for the leading social work online publications ‘Community Care’ and ‘Professional Social Work’.

We will undertake continuing professional development (CPD) webinars – through Making Research Count, hold a socio-legal webinar examining the legal specifics and experiences and engage with European Social Work networks.

We will undertake presentations of the study’s main messages including to Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), British Association of Social Work (BASW), and the Chief Social Workers, various sections of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), User and Carer Advocacy Groups and our own Unit’s seminar series and conferences,

We will feed back to the participating local authorities.

Emily Thomas was a member of the research team for this project.

Our Partners


NIHR School for Social Care Research

Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator