You are here: Sustainable Development in Government > News archive > The Sustainable Social Care Programme

The Sustainable Social Care Programme

Catherine Max describes the aims and activities of the Sustainable Social Care Programme, which she leads on behalf of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

The Sustainable Social Care Programme encourages local authorities, as commissioners of adult social care services, to promote sustainable development across the sector, particularly to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.

Delivered by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the programme is funded by the Department of Health, with support from Local Government Improvement and Development and, up to March 2011, the Sustainable Development Commission.

The programme aims to demonstrate how sustainable development can:

  1. Help deliver the Government’s vision for adult social care, with capable communities and active citizens;
  2. Enable local service improvements, putting strong emphasis on prevention and partnership –  with a focus on social, economic and environmental outcomes.


In 2010, SCIE published the following papers:

During 2011-12, the programme is taking forward themes and recommendations from this work in the context of the new health and social care policy landscape.  In particular,

Personalisation and stimulating the market for more sustainable care services

SCIE is working with community groups, commissioners and service providers in Bristol, in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).  Investigation into local citizens’ priorities will inform the City Council’s strategies and service development, and foster collaboration between social care and environmental organisations.

Ethical implications of low carbon services

With multidisciplinary bioethics research centre Ethox, SCIE is devising a framework for decision-making which addresses ethical challenges posed by a sustainable development approach to health and social care.  The work spans issues of health and environmental inequalities, inter-generational justice, and how to weight different social values in funding and policy decisions.

Sustainability, quality and productivity

SCIE is supporting a scoping review by the King’s Fund to research what is known about environmental sustainability in the social care sector, priorities for future research, and how action on sustainability can contribute to the quality, productivity and prevention agendas.  This work is in parallel with NIHR-funded research focusing on healthcare.  It is also linked to a collaboration with the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and others seeking to develop economic methodologies for health and social care which take account of environmental costs and benefits.

Expert seminars

A series of seminars is planned for Autumn/Winter 2011 which will support knowledge transfer between academic research, policy-makers and practitioners on topics of mutual interest such as the understanding of risk in the context of climate change and the implications for care services and people in vulnerable circumstances.

Further reading

For further information on the programme, publications and resources, visit the sustainability pages on SCIE’s website or contact Catherine Max at

Catherine Max is a strategic consultant and independent advisor specialising in sustainable development, health and social care.

We haven't yet received any comments on this page.

Do you have a comment on this page?

All comments are moderated: we will not publish irrelevant or inappropriate comments. Please note that we require your email to validate your message and will not publish it or use it for any other purpose.