Ethical issues in self-funded social care: co-producing knowledge with older people

Ethical issues in self-funded social care: co-producing knowledge with older people’ is a three-year project  funded by a Wellcome Trust, Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Science, and is a collaboration between University of Brighton, University of Birmingham and University of Lincoln. The overall lead and PI is Dr. Lizzie Ward based at the University of Brighton. The research takes an innovative approach to researching self-funding through co-production with older people and knowledge exchange with key stakeholders in three research sites: Brighton and Hove, Solihull and Lincolnshire.


Each site has a team lead, a Research fellow, a local community partner and team of older co-researchers.

Dr. Lizzie Ward (PI), Dr. Philippa Locke, University of Brighton

Professor Mo Ray, Dr. Claire Markham, University of Lincoln

Dr. Denise Tanner, Dr. Llinos Mary-Jehu, University of Birmingham

At Lincoln we have team of 11 older co-researchers: Dave, Kate, Lucie, Lissie, Mandy, Mike, Nigel, Ruth, Sarah, Steve, Tony

Our community partner is Evergreen Care Trust, Stamford

Background context 

The number of older people funding their care has increased within the context of transformations in statutory social care, the impact of austerity and cuts to social care funding. There is little research on self-funded care, despite its significance to policy and practice. Older people’s perspectives are marginalised in policy and practice, which are dominated by managerial concerns of resource allocation and service provision, and in research, where their voices are largely absent.

Aims and objectives 

At its core this project is a collaboration between academics, social care commissioners, providers, practitioners and older people in three research sites. Its overarching aim is to generate ‘co-produced knowledge’ of self-funding through accessing lived experiences of older people and seeking the views of informal carers, family members who are supporting older people and those who commission and provide care services. In doing this we are aiming to gain an understanding of ethical dimensions of self-funded care with a view to helping to transform policy and practice.

The key goals to achieve our aim are to:

  • understand older people’s experiences of self-funding
  • develop theoretical understanding of the ethical issues involved in self-funded care
  • engage with older people, practitioners, health and care services’ commissioners and providers to transform understanding of self-funded care and produce accessible outputs to impact policy and practice.

Outputs and impact

Through this co-produced project we are aiming to produce knowledge and understanding about self-funded care that will lead to the production of creative outputs. These will be co-designed with our co-researchers and community partners.