Oxfordshire is the latest local authority to trial the government’s new adult social care charging reform system ahead of the national rollout in October 2023.

The local council will be joining Wolverhampton, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Newham and North Yorkshire, allowing the Department of Health and Social care to trial key aspects of the reforms.

‘A representative cross section of communities’

This includes: capping care costs at £86,000 over a person’s lifetime; and a new means-tested support system for people with assets between £20,000 and £100,000, with this upper limit more than 4 times the current limit.

The reform will be funded by the Health and Social Care Levy, which is set to raise more than £5.4 billion, £3.6 billion of which will be used to reform the way people pay for their social care.

The government selected the six local authorities to ensure there was a representative cross section of communities so that any insight, evidence and lessons learned from this initiative would be helpful to all providers, local authorities and areas across England.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We know reform in adult social care is needed to remove the unpredictable care costs people face as they get older.

“Oxfordshire is a national leader in adult social care and being a part of this small group of early adopters gives us the opportunity to influence how the programme will be rolled out and share our best practice with national government.”

Helping providers and local authorities to prepare for the future

The six local authorities will work with the department to educate and inform other local authorities with a series of events taking place before the final rollout.

The government hopes the initiative will produce valuable insight, evidence and lessons to aid monitoring progress and identifying challenges to improve understanding of how it will work in practice.

Minister for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said: “It’s great to have Oxfordshire join our trailblazers to implement the charging reform early.

“Oxfordshire, along with our other trailblazers, will pave the way to ensuring we learn from any insight, evidence and lessons to help providers and local authorities across England in the future. We’re looking forward to working with them to make the ambitious change a reality.”