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The University of Southampton
Centre for Research on Ageing

Research project: Ethnic group differences in satisfaction with social care (the ‘ASC’ project) - Dormant

Currently Active: 

The ASC project stands for Acceptability of and Satisfaction with Social Care.  This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research (SSCR), and ran from 2012-2014. The aim of the project was to explore the reasons for lower levels of satisfaction with social care services among minority ethnic groups that have been found in national surveys. We investigated the experiences with social care services among South Asian and White British groups, as well as the views of social service staff members on the reasons behind low satisfaction levels. We made recommendations for the design of services in social care for enhanced satisfaction.  

The research involved individual semi-structured interviews with three different groups:

  1. People who have used social care services and are from either a South Asian or a White British background;
  2. People who provide unpaid care for someone who uses social care services and are from either a South Asian or a White British background;
  3. People who work for social care services, or for a care provider funded by social care services.

Participants in groups 1 and 2 were asked questions about their experiences with social care services, and whether there were any particular issues relating to culture, language, religion, or ethnicity. Participants in group 3 were asked about their experiences providing professional care to people from all backgrounds, and whether there were any particular issues relating to culture, language, religion, or ethnicity. Data collection took place in three local authorities in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth. It therefore included a mix of rural and urban areas, areas of diverse socio-economic status, and areas of high and low ethnic minority density.

The key finding was that high satisfaction was related to the ability of service users and family carers to work together with professional care staff to achieve the level of care desired, and that this ability was developed through long experience with the social care system. Many participants developed this long experience through having arranged care for their own parents in the past, and were now arranging care for themselves or a spouse. People who had migrated to Britain without their own parents therefore had fewer opportunities than White British people to develop this experience. Therefore, the key factor related to satisfaction was not due to language barriers or religious differences, but actually to length of time in the country. Having said that, language barriers and religious differences did make a difference to day-to-day experiences of social care services.



Department of Gerontology and Centre for Research on Ageing , University of Southampton

Principal Investigator: Dr Rosalind Willis

Co-Investigator: Professor Maria Evandrou

Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology , University of Southampton

Co-Investigator: Dr Pathik Pathak

Pensions Policy Institute, London

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Dr Priya Khambhaita


Advisory Panel and Project Supporters:

Adult Services, Hampshire County Council

Adult Social Care, Portsmouth City Council

Adult Social Care, Southampton City Council

Age UK Southampton

BAME Health Group Southampton

Carers in Southampton

Carers Together

Eastleigh Borough Council

Equalities & Diversity Team, Portsmouth City Council

Friendship Centre, Portsmouth

Multicultural Link Group, Portsmouth

Portsmouth Race Equality Network Organisation (PRENO) 

Portsmouth Carers’ Centre

SCA Group

Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Southampton

Solent NHS Trust CDW Service

University of Portsmouth

WEA Southern Region (Clovelly Centre), Southampton

Key project outputs:

CRA Briefing Paper 4

CRA Discussion Paper 1701

NIHR SSCR Findings summary

NIHR SSCR Project Proposal



Dr Rosalind Willis presenting key findings from the ASC project at the NIHR SSCR annual conference, 8 April 2014, London School of Economics.

Dr Rosalind Willis presenting an 'Ageing Bite' on the British Society of Gerontology's Youtube channel.


Dr Priya Khambhaita presenting findings from the ASC project on BBC London Radio on the Sunny and Shay show, 25 January 2015 and 5 February 2017.


Key Publications



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