Choosing social care

Page last updated: 2 September 2022

If you're looking for care services, you'll want to make sure you or a loved-one receive safe, compassionate and high-quality care. We've pulled together some information to help you.

Finding services suitable for your needs

We register all care homes and home care agencies. You can look for care services that support specific groups of people (such as people with a learning disability or those living with dementia) by using the search box here.

Comparing services

When we inspect services, we ask these five key questions:

  • Is this service safe?
  • Is this service effective?
  • Is this service caring?
  • Is this service responsive to people's needs?
  • Is this service well-led?

We rate services on a four-point scale: 'Outstanding', 'Good', 'Requires improvement', 'Inadequate'. These ratings will help you make informed choices around your care.

What you should expect from a care service

Look for care homes and home care agencies where the staff involve people who use services and their families and carers, and treat individuals with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Whether you are being cared for in your own home or in a residential setting, the staff looking after you need to be skilled, kind and supportive. They should also be capable and confident in dealing with your particular needs. You should always feel that their support is helping you to live the life you want to.

A care home will be a home for you or your loved one. Residents should be treated as individuals with their likes and dislikes taken into account. Think about whether a home is close enough to family, friends, and community facilities.

Look at how well-led and managed a home is. What does it have in place to ensure that it delivers high quality care? Does it promote meaningful activity and connect the home with the community?

Getting help

If you or a loved one needs help with day-to-day care, you can contact your local council's social services department. They will 'make an assessment of your needs' and depending on circumstances, may be able to help you access financial help. For more advice, see Age UK's website.

If you would like to organise your care yourself, you can find a care worker or personal assistant through an agency. Your local social services department should be able to provide details of approved agencies.


Safeguarding adults who receive social care is everybody's business. If you are concerned about the safety of a loved one receiving care, contact the service provider in the first instance. You can also contact social services at your local council. If you feel a crime has bee committed, contact the police. You can share your safeguarding concerns with us on our website or contact our National Customer Services on 03000 616161.