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Relocation, portability and social care practice


This study aimed to inform understanding of the experiences of individuals and family carers moving across local authority boundaries, the barriers and facilitators to relocation, and the role of social care in supporting this. The underpinning policy informing practice in this area, and changes anticipated in the Care Act were addressed in the final report.


2012 – 2014

Research team

Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU) with Principal Investigators, Dave Marsland and Caroline White (University of Hull)


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research


Following a systematic review of the literature, the study explored the experiences of a sample of 20 disabled people receiving publicly funded social care (services, personal budgets or a combination) with experience of trying to relocate across local authority boundaries. Interviews focused on accessing or changing social care support, funding and support plans, and monitoring and reviews. Interviews also took place with social care practitioners in three English local authorities, using vignettes (fictional case studies based on real accounts), which prompted discussion regarding: action they would take to support individuals; experience and knowledge in this area; difficulties they anticipate; and, resources and strategies to address these.


The literature review identified six key themes relating to the challenges of relocation and portability. These were the portability of social care and other support; variations in policy and practice between local authorities; personalised funding; carers’ needs in relation to relocation for education and employment; housing, accommodation and adaptations; and, practitioner knowledge and attitudes.

Outputs and impact

The literature review is shortly to be published (2015). See below for the study reports. Evidence from this study forms a baseline for the evaluation of changes resulting from the implementation of the Care Act. The study provided evidence to those writing the Care Act guidance and summary leaflets of the study’s findings are available publically for disabled people and for practitioners.


Marsland, D., White, C. & Manthorpe, J. (2015) 'Relocation, portability and social care practice. Research Findings', London: NIHR School for Social Care Research. 

Marsland, D., White, C. & Manthorpe, J. (2014) 'Moving house and moving care? Information for people in receipt of social care support moving to a new local authority', Hull and London: University of Hull, King's College London, NIHR School for Social Care Research.

Marsland, D., White, C. & Manthorpe, J. (2014) 'Relocation, portability and social care practice: moving house and moving care', Hull and London: University of Hull, King's College London and NIHR School for Social Care Research.


White, C., Marsland, D. & Manthorpe, J. (2015, online) 'Relocation, portability and social care practice: A scoping review', Journal of Social Work.

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