The legal and social life of care standards regulation in England, Scotland and Wales


  • Dr Lydia Hayes

    Cardiff University

Project summary

Poor employment conditions for care workers can damage the quality of adult social care provision. We will investigate the socio-legal capacity for care standards regulation to influence the quality of care workers’ jobs. 

This interdisciplinary proof-of-concept study will investigate how the legal regulation of care standards shapes job content and terms and conditions for care workers. We will compare three UK nations to investigate what Age UK has described as the ‘struggle to get people to work in the care sector and retain them'. We will examine the regulatory landscape characterised by the link between care quality to job quality and the legal separation of employment standards from care standards. We will work with inspectors, commissioners and employers to explore how the ‘social life’ of care standards regulation shapes care workers’ employment and affects care quality. We will map legal regulations and regulatory systems and examine how social care standards are dynamically interpreted at different levels of regulatory systems, such as inspection, service commissioning and hiring care workers. 

This project will support practical improvement in service delivery.