Published: January 2016
Author(s): Diane Burns, Luke Cowie, Joe Earle, Peter Folkman, Julie Froud, Paula Hyde, Ian Rees Jones, Karel Williams

The citizen’s summary of the full report is business and organised money have a political advantage in matters of public policy around outsourced services because the average citizen does not have the knowledge or confidence to engage critically with this kind of financial issue. A democracy where business and finance are socially accountable requires citizens with financial literacy who can engage with such issues in specific activities, like adult care, which are important to all of our welfare. This public interest report is about residential adult care, which has been more or less completely outsourced to private providers. The providers are a diverse group of profit and not for profit providers: the typical business is a small family owned firm operating in a converted house but big business and organised money are represented through chains of purpose built homes so that the five largest chains accounted for nearly 20% of beds in 2015. What’s happened in care is that the big chains speak for the sector and have made an argument about care which is actually about their specific interests. The big chains now tell a trade narrative or story via the media about an urgent crisis in social care which is the result of not enough money from local authorities for publicly funded beds. In our view, this narrative oversimplifies the story: the issue is not simply how much money goes into adult care but where the money goes.