What is the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF)

What is the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF)?


Care Learning

2 mins READ

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) is a vital instrument deployed in England to measure and assess the performance of adult social care services.

Introduced by the Department of Health and Social Care, it aims to ensure transparency and effectiveness in delivering social care to adults.

Purpose and Objectives

ASCOF is designed with several core objectives in mind:

  • Improving Quality and Accountability: It helps local authorities and care providers focus on the outcomes and quality of care that users experience. By providing a set of measurable indicators, it holds services accountable, ensuring they meet required standards.
  • Benchmarking and Comparisons: Local authorities can compare their performance with others to identify best practices and targets for improvement.
  • Understanding Outcomes: It shifts the focus from processes to outcomes, highlighting whether care services are improving the lives of individuals who use them.
  • Policy Development: It supports national and local policy-making by providing data-driven insights into the effectiveness of interventions and strategies in adult social care.


ASCOF consists of several domains, each addressing different aspects of adult social care outcomes:

Enhancing Quality of Life for People with Care and Support Needs:

This domain focuses on the extent to which social care improves the lived experiences of individuals. Key indicators may include measures of personal relationships, employment, and accommodation stability.

    Delaying and Reducing the Need for Care and Support:

    It evaluates preventative measures and the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing the necessity for long-term care. This can include analysing reablement services and support for carers.

    Ensuring that People have a Positive Experience of Care and Support:

    This domain assesses user satisfaction with the services they receive. It often involves survey data capturing feedback from users regarding their experiences.

    Safeguarding Adults whose Circumstances make them Vulnerable and Protecting them from Avoidable Harm:

    This is critical for ensuring the safety and welfare of vulnerable adults. Indicators may cover safeguarding outcomes, effectiveness of interventions, and the handling of safeguarding alerts.


      ASCOF uses a range of both quantitative and qualitative indicators. These indicators provide a broad view of how well adult social care services are performing. They often include metrics such as:

      • Social Care-related Quality of Life (SCRQoL): A composite measure derived from user surveys.
      • Carer-reported Quality of Life: Insights into how well the needs of carers are being met.
      • User satisfaction: Direct feedback from service users through tools such as the Adult Social Care Survey (ASCS).
      • Reablement and Rehabilitation: Metrics that show the effectiveness of short-term support in helping individuals regain independence.
      • Safeguarding Outcomes: Data on the success and timeliness of safeguarding interventions.

      Reporting and Utilisation

      Local authorities are required to report their performance against ASCOF indicators annually. This data is compiled and published by NHS Digital, providing an accessible resource for stakeholders, including policy-makers, care providers, and the public. The framework results are often used to:

      • Inform local strategies and service planning.
      • Engage with service users and carers to gather feedback and co-design services.
      • Drive continuous improvement and innovation in care delivery.

      In summary, the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework is an essential mechanism for monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing the quality and effectiveness of adult social care in England. It places emphasis on achieving positive outcomes for individuals, promoting transparency, and driving improvements across the sector.

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