The Health Services and Public Health Act 1968

The Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 received royal assent on 26 July 1968.

Section 45 of the Act empowered local authorities to make arrangements to promote the welfare of old people. They were able to employ voluntary organisations to discharge this function on their behalf.

Local authorities could make charges for such arrangements. However, services that fell under the NHS were excluded.

The Department of Health and Social Services circular clarified that social services departments had the power to provide care services, including:

  • visiting
  • laundry
  • social work advice and support
  • meals and recreation both at home and in residential care.

The circular also enabled local authorities to offer home adaptations and warden services. These changes meant that older people had access to more services in the community.


Health Services and Public Health Act 1968.

Itulua-Abumere F.
The impact of community care policy on older people in Britain: 1970s to 1990s.
Open Journal of Social Science Research.
2013; 1(4): 94–98.