The Local Authority Social Services Act 1970

Following the recommendations of the Seebohm Commission in 1968, the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 received royal assent on 29 May 1970. The act created a framework for social services and a single social services department in every local authority.

This move 'emphasis[ed] the need for a co-ordinated and comprehensive approach to social care, supporting families, detecting need and encouraging people to seek help'.

The act required every local authority to establish a social services committee to carry out social services functions. In addition to the committee, they were directed to appoint directors of social services to deliver the authority's social services functions.

Significantly, section 7 of the Act established the secretary of state's ability to provide directions to local authorities on the exercise of their social services functions. However, these powers were used sparingly because they cut across local government freedoms.


Local Authority Social Services Act 1970.

House of Commons Health Committee.
Social Care: Written evidence.
London: The Stationery Office Limited; 2009.