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UK Children's Social Care market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Children's Social Care market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Report Coverage

  • What are the key determinants driving the industry?
  • Have there been any structural changes as a result of external economic factors?
  • How has the government influenced and shaped the development of the sector?
  • What are the key issues the UK industry needs to address to improve efficiency and performance?
  • What does the future hold for the UK children’s social care industry?

Market Segmentation

  • Children's homes
  • Foster care
  • Other children looked after
  • Special education

It also includes smaller segments, such as adoption services, which will account for just over 18% of total spending in 2017/18.

Company Profiles

  • Acorn Care and Education
  • Cambian Childcare (formerly Advanced Childcare)
  • Foster Care Associates (formerly Core Assets)
  • Kedleston Education
  • Keys Group
  • The National Autistic Society
  • National Fostering Agency
  • Priory Group

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Lewis Cone, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

As local authorities restrict their spending, a large number of services could be subject to further cuts - including those listed as ‘priority services’, such as children’s services and social care. This could occur even though the number of children in care has reached a record high. Lewis Cone
Research Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary

      • Market size
        • Figure 1: UK market for children’s social care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
        • Figure 2: Segmentation of UK market for children’s social care, by country, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
        • Figure 3: Number of children looked after, by country, 2017, (% of UK total)
        • Figure 4: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of care, 2013/14 and 2017/18, (% of total market)
      • Market segmentation
        • Figure 5: UK children’s home placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £000)
        • Figure 6: Children’s homes in England, at 31 March 2017, by region and type of provision, (% of homes)
        • Figure 7: UK foster care placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £000)
        • Figure 8: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of provider, 2013/14-2017/18, (% of total provision)
      • Forecast
        • Rate of growth expected to decline each year to 2022/23
          • Figure 9: UK market forecast for children’s social care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
        • Special education spend expected to account for greatest share of market expenditure
          • Figure 10: UK market segmentation forecast for children’s social care, by type of care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
        • What we think
        • Key Insights

            • What are the current trends in the different types of children care provision?
              • Are any underlying factors restricting market development?
              • Introduction

                  • Definitions
                    • Methodology
                      • Abbreviations
                        • Market positioning
                        • UK Economy

                          • Key points
                            • Overview
                              • Figure 11: Forecast GDP development 2017-21, (% annual growth)
                              • Figure 12: UK GDP quarterly development, 2007-17, (% quarterly growth and GDP in £ billion)
                            • Inflation
                              • Interest rates
                                • House prices
                                  • Figure 13: UK house price changes, 2006-17, (12 month % change)
                                • Consumer spending
                                  • Manufacturing
                                    • Figure 14: UK manufacturing, 2014-17, (Index, 2013 = 100)
                                  • Business investment
                                    • Figure 15: UK GFCF, 2007-17, (£ million, chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted)
                                  • Imports
                                    • Exports
                                    • Market Factors

                                      • Key points
                                        • Inquiry highlights current challenges in the industry
                                          • Funding pressures on both providers and users of services are leading to insufficient provision amid rising demand
                                            • Political focus on Brexit is damaging the progress made towards much-needed market reform
                                              • Industry’s barriers to market entry still restricting development
                                                • Legislation
                                                • Market Size and Trends

                                                  • Market size
                                                    • Key points
                                                        • Figure 16: UK market for children’s social care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                        • Figure 17: UK market for children’s social care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                      • Regional analysis
                                                        • Figure 18: Segmentation of UK market for children’s social care, by country, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                        • Figure 19: Segmentation of UK market for children’s social care, by country, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                        • Figure 20: Number of children looked after, by country, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                        • Figure 21: Number of children looked after, by country, 2017, (% of UK total)
                                                        • Figure 22: Number of children looked after in england, by age and gender, as of 31 March, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                        • Figure 23: Number of children looked after in Scotland, by age and gender, as of 31 July, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                        • Figure 24: Number of children looked after in Wales, by age and gender, as of 31 March, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                        • Figure 25: Number of children looked after in the UK, by age and country, as of 31 March (rest of UK) and 31 July (Scotland), 2017, (% of children looked after)
                                                    • Market Segmentation

                                                      • Key points
                                                          • Figure 26: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                          • Figure 27: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of care, 2013/14 and 2017/18, (% of total market)
                                                          • Figure 28: Number of children looked after, at 31 March and 31 July, by placement type, UK, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                        • Children’s homes
                                                            • Figure 29: UK children’s home placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £ 000)
                                                            • Figure 30: UK children’s home placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £ 000)
                                                            • Figure 31: Number of children in children’s homes in Scotland, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                            • Figure 32: Children’s homes in England, at 31 March 2017, by region, (number)
                                                            • Figure 33: Children’s homes in England, at 31 March 2017, by region and type of provision, (% of homes)
                                                          • Foster care
                                                              • Figure 34: UK foster care placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £ 000)
                                                              • Figure 35: UK foster care placements and average annual cost, at 31 March of each year (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and 31 July of each year (Scotland), 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and £000)
                                                              • Figure 36: Foster placements in England, at 31 March of each year, by placement type and location, 2013-17, (number of children)
                                                              • Figure 37: UK fostering rates, 2016/17 and 2017/18, (£ per week)
                                                            • Special education
                                                                • Figure 38: UK market for SEN care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                                • Figure 39: UK market for SEN care, 2013/14-2017/18, (£ million)
                                                                • Figure 40: Students with special educational needs, by school type, England, 2013/14-2017/18, (number of children and % of pupils in each school type)
                                                                • Figure 41: Students with special educational needs, by academy type, England, 2014-17, (number of children and % of pupils in each academy type)
                                                              • Independent vs public supply
                                                                • Figure 42: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of provider, 2013/14-2017/18, (% and £ million)
                                                                • Figure 43: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by type of provider, 2013/14-2017/18, (% of total provision)
                                                                • Figure 44: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by sector and type of provider, 2013/14-2017/18, (% and £ million)
                                                                • Figure 45: Segmentation of the UK market for children’s social care, by sector and type of provider, 2013/14 and 2017/18, (% of total sector value)
                                                            • Market Trends

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • A rising number of children’s services are being contracted out by LAs
                                                                  • Benefits cuts have driven rise in services demand, with additional funds needed for early intervention and support...
                                                                    • ...as highlighted by variations in spending between the most and least deprived local authorities
                                                                      • Referrals to children’s social care rose for the first time in three years in 2016/17, while completed initial assessments rose for a third time
                                                                        • Figure 46: Referrals and initial assessments to children’s social care, England, 2012/13-2016/17, (number and rate per 10,000 children under 18 years)
                                                                        • Figure 47: Number of referrals and initial assessments from referrals to children’s social care, England, 2012/13-2016/17, (number)
                                                                        • Figure 48: Referrals to children’s social care, England, by most common source of referral, 2016/17, (%)
                                                                        • Figure 49: Initial assessments to children’s social care, England, by most common primary need, 2016/17, (%)
                                                                      • London is home to the most social workers, but also has the highest staff turnover
                                                                        • Figure 50: Children’s social care workers in England, 2016, (number of FTE workers and % turnover rate)
                                                                        • Figure 51: Children’s social care workers in England, 2016, (number of FTE workers and % turnover rate)
                                                                    • Industry Structure

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Industry development
                                                                          • Ofsted inspections imply slight annual rise in number of homes
                                                                            • Number of secure units remains constant for third straight year
                                                                              • Figure 52: Number of secure children’s homes in the UK, by country, 2013-17, (number)
                                                                            • Independent provision of services continues to grow
                                                                                • Figure 53: Proportion of all children’s homes in England run by state or independent organisations, by region, as of 30 September 2017, (%)
                                                                              • What Works Well Centre aims to change culture and industry practice
                                                                                • Scheme launched to improve collaboration between children’s services
                                                                                  • Industry structure
                                                                                    • Figure 54: Analysis of the changes in the structure of other residential care activities, 2013-17, (number of outlets and businesses)
                                                                                    • Figure 55: Analysis of changes in the structure of ‘other residential care activities’, 2013-17, (number of outlets and businesses)
                                                                                    • Figure 56: Analysis of the changes in the structure of other social work activities without accommodation n.e.c., 2013-17, (number of outlets and businesses)
                                                                                  • Structure by employment
                                                                                    • Figure 57: Analysis of the employment structure of ‘other residential care activities’, 2016 and 2017, (number of employees and outlets)
                                                                                    • Figure 58: Analysis of the employment structure of other social work activities without accommodation n.e.c., 2016 and 2017, (number of employees and outlets)
                                                                                  • Structure by turnover
                                                                                    • Figure 59: Analysis of the financial structure of other residential care activities, 2016 and 2017, (£000 and number of businesses)
                                                                                    • Figure 60: Analysis of the financial structure of other social work activities without accommodation n.e.c., 2016 and 2017, (£000 and number of businesses)
                                                                                • Company Profiles

                                                                                  • Acorn Care and Education

                                                                                        • Figure 61: Financial analysis of Acorn Care 1, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                        • Figure 62: Financial analysis of Fostering Solutions, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                      • Company strategy
                                                                                      • Cambian Childcare (formerly Advanced Childcare)

                                                                                            • Figure 63: Financial analysis of Cambian Childcare Limited, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                          • Company strategy
                                                                                          • Foster Care Associates (formerly Core Assets)

                                                                                                • Figure 64: Financial analysis of Foster Care Associates (formerly traded under Core Assets Group), 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                              • Company strategy
                                                                                              • Kedleston Education

                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Financial analysis of Kedleston Education, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                                  • Company strategy
                                                                                                  • Keys Group

                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Financial analysis of Keys Group, 2013-17, (£ 000)
                                                                                                      • Company strategy
                                                                                                      • The National Autistic Society

                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Financial analysis of the National Autistic Society, 2013-17, (£ 000)
                                                                                                          • Company strategy
                                                                                                          • National Fostering Agency

                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Financial analysis of the National Fostering Agency, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                                              • Company strategy
                                                                                                              • Priory Group

                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Financial analysis of the Priory Group, 2011-15, (£ million)
                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Financial analysis of Partnerships in Care UK 1, 2015-16, (£ million)
                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Financial analysis of the Priory Education Services, 2012-16, (£ 000)
                                                                                                                  • Group strategy
                                                                                                                    • Figure 72: Profiled companies’ combined turnover, 2012-16, (£ million)
                                                                                                                • Forecast

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Rate of growth expected to decline each year to 2022/23
                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: UK market forecast for children’s social care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: UK market forecast for children’s social care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: UK market segmentation forecast for children’s social care, by type of care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: UK market segmentation forecast for children’s social care, by type of care, 2018/19-2022/23, (£ million)
                                                                                                                    • The industry now represents the largest concern for council finance officers
                                                                                                                      • Preference of foster care over residential homes at risk due to increasing pressure on allowances and fees
                                                                                                                        • Service provision changes could soon be implemented as MPs launch inquiry into children’s services thresholds...
                                                                                                                          • ...as well as launching a research project to study the careers of social workers in an attempt to improve recruitment and reduce caseloads per worker
                                                                                                                          • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                                                            • Trade associations
                                                                                                                              • Association of Directors of Children’s Services Ltd (ADCS)
                                                                                                                                • CoramBAAF Academy of Adoption and Fostering
                                                                                                                                  • Independent Children’s Homes Association (ICHA)
                                                                                                                                    • Nasen
                                                                                                                                      • Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP)
                                                                                                                                        • National Children’s Bureau (NCB)
                                                                                                                                          • National Portage Association
                                                                                                                                            • Trade magazines
                                                                                                                                              • Child Care (Monthly)
                                                                                                                                                • Children & Young People Now (Fortnightly)
                                                                                                                                                  • Social Work News (Quarterly)
                                                                                                                                                    • Who Cares? (Quarterly)
                                                                                                                                                      • Trade exhibitions
                                                                                                                                                        • ADCS Annual Conference 2018
                                                                                                                                                          • Community Care Live Manchester 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • National Children and Adult Services Conference 2018