SCCMR Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) FAQs

The purpose of the questionnaire is to obtain the self-assessment of each council in England about the level of risk in their local social care market, the stability of social care provision and an understanding of the councils’ plans and contingency arrangements.

1. What is the purpose of the self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ)?

The purpose is to obtain the self-assessment of each council in England about the level of risk in their local social care market, the stability of social care provision and an understanding of the councils’ plans and contingency arrangements. The SAQ also seeks to understand what support councils would want to help them manage the situations they are facing.

2. Why do this now?

This is part of the DHSC Winter Plan and it is timely to understand better the impact of Covid-19 on the social care sector and EU transition. It will also help develop an understanding of councils’ risks and challenges during the winter period and to do so in time to put in place system-wide actions and support to help councils mitigate and overcome these risks.

3. Who has been involved with the process and design of the SAQ?

This process has been initiated and overseen by DHSC. Both the LGA and ADASS have worked closely with DHSC colleagues in the design of the SAQ and will support the completion of the SAQ in regions.

4. Is completion of the SAQ compulsory?

Every council in England with responsibility for adult social care is expected to complete the SAQ.

5. When is the deadline for completing the survey?

The deadline for councils to complete and submit the SAQ is midnight on Wednesday 21 October 2020.

6. How is the SAQ completed?

All councils have received a unique link that will give them access to their specific SAQ that is hosted on an LGA online platform. Councils should complete all questions in this SAQ and write their text directly into the boxes provided.
Councils can continue to add and amend text into the SAQ. During this time councils may wish to share their assessments with their region (which is recommended) so that regions can support each council. Once completed and before the deadline, each council should submit their SAQ by clicking the ‘SUBMIT’ button on the final page of the SAQ.

7. Who can see the SAQ?

Each council has their own online SAQ that can only be accessed via a unique weblink. This weblink has only been sent to the DASS and it is up to them who they share this link with.
A further test version of the SAQ has been created that can be accessed by anyone that wishes to understand what the SAQ looks like. 

8. Will there be an offline copy of the questions in the SAQ?

Yes. A Word and PDF version of the SAQ is held on the CHIP Support page

9. What do we do if have any technical difficulties whilst completing the survey?

If you have any technical issues, or wish to submit any other questions or queries, you should email Technical queries to this inbox will be given priority and LGA staff are on hand to help.
If councils submit their SAQ in error, or decide they wish to make further changes after the SAQ has been submitted, they should email

10. Who should I contact with any queries about how to answer the survey?

You are advised to check the FAQ document on the CHIP support page as this question may already have been answered. If it hasn’t, you should email all questions about this process to

11. Are there any further opportunities to hear about or discuss this SAQ?

Yes, two webinars have been arranged that will give this opportunity. These will be attended by colleagues from DHSC, LGA and ADASS. Zoom joining details can be found on the CHIP Support page and the date / time of these sessions is:

  • Friday 9 October 2020 at 12.00pm
  • Monday 21 October 2020 at 12.00pm

12. Should we mention the names of people or providers in our SAQ responses?

No. There is no need for this information to be provided and to avoid any data protection issues, please do not include any information of this type.

13. When will DHSC see the information I provide in the SAQ?

DHSC will not have access to any information in the SAQs until the deadline has passed. After the deadline, the LGA will download all the SAQs and send these in their entirety to DHSC. Information in the SAQ can only be changed by those people who the council has chosen to share their unique link with.

(Please see question 9 for advice on if a council clicks submit in error).

14. Will the review be published?

Contents of individual SAQs will not be published. A report will be written by DHSC that contains findings from a review of the completed SAQs, but this will not be published. The finalised report and results will be shared with the LGA and ADASS. A summary of the review will be published.

The aim is for the report to be submitted to Ministers in mid-November 2020.

15. Will councils be named in any report?

The report completed by DHSC and submitted to Ministers may contain the names of individual councils or regions. For the purposes of any externally accessed publications information will be aggregated, and no individual, council or region will be identified in any publications without their consent.. In addition, identifiable information may be used internally within the LGA and ADASS but will only be held and processed in accordance with the LGA's privacy statement.

16. Will we (local authorities) be able to see the report?

As well as sharing the final review report with LGA / ADASS it will be available to councils.

17. Will we be able to see the results of other local authorities as well as our own?

It is up to each council what information they choose to share with other councils or their region whilst the SAQ process is ongoing.

18. Do we have a timeline for receiving any trends / key data / feedback from this work – which could help each LA to further shape their plans for winter?

Following on from the response to question 17, LGA and ADASS are considering what information should be shared and when. Our intention is to begin sharing the type of information referred to in this question within a few days of the SAQ deadline.

The sharing of the final report will also assist with this but will be in mid-November.

19. Will the Care Services Minister read the report?

Yes, interim submissions will be made to the Minister and the final report will also be submitted to the Minister with policy advice from civil servants.

20. What will happen after the report is published?

The report will lead to recommendations internally for DHSC’s policy and mitigation activity. It will help to inform the winter plan, particularly the development of intensive support and future planning.

21. How does this review’s findings fit with the national ASC dashboard referenced in the Winter Plan?

The findings will fit with the dashboard.

22. Does the NHS know about this review?

Yes, the detail of this review has been shared. MHCLG has also been briefed, so too various national provider forums.

23. The NHS are purchasing increasing numbers of places for older people. How does that fit in with this review?

This review is about the market position in each council area of both council funded and self-funded individuals. You may wish to make reference in your SAQ to the role and impact of NHS commissioning activity in your local area.

24. What if our market plan is to make changes to the market and the kind of services provided?

This should form part of your responses in the SAQ. We recognise that market shaping is a key role for councils under the Care Act. While this review is primarily about the additional factors of Covid 19 impact and EU transition, your own plans to shape services, and in doing so develop the market, should not be ignored.

25. Due to Covid-19 or EU transition there may be some services that will have no choice but to close. How do we plan for that?

You are specifically asked about emergency closures and service changes in the SAQ.

26. What is the relationship between this review and the Winter Plan?

The published Winter Plan refers directly to this review and its purpose. Detailed discussions about the key alignment of its finding are already in hand in DHSC. This review will inform and give a focus alongside the important work of the plan.

27. Will the regional overview be similar to the Care Home Review?

This review is different to the Care Home Review. Lessons from that review have helped to inform the planning and development of this SAQ and the regional overview.

Regions will be offered an outline framework for their feedback. This is being designed jointly between DHSC, LGA and ADASS

28. When I complete the SAQ, will I be able to download a copy of our results?

Once you press submit, you will be taken to a web page summarising your entire response, with a button allowing you to download it as a pdf. If you accidentally  navigate away from this page without downloading a copy, please contact and we can send over a pdf version.