The Seebohm report

The Committee

The Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services, chaired by Lord Frederic Seebohm, was appointed on 20 December 1965 to review the organisation and responsibilities of the social services functions of local authorities.

It was also tasked with considering whether changes needed to be made to secure a more effective and holistic service.


The committee reported back 3 years later, recommending the amalgamation of a number of functions to form a single social services department. The single department would include services provided by:

  • children's departments
  • welfare services
  • the home help service
  • mental health
  • social work services
  • social care functions provided by other organisations.

There was a strong emphasis on supporting care in the community and the financial benefits of preventative care. The report recommended that there needed to be a more coherent pattern of care provision for elderly people, including early identification.

The government welcomed the report and committed to carry out a consultation and work with partners, including local government, to review the recommendations made by Seebohm. 

In 1969, during a motion for papers relative to the report in the House of Lords, Baroness Brooke of Ystradfellte highlighted the 'lamentably long' waiting lists for residential care of people with learning disabilities, people with disabilities and older people. She stated:

'What the Seebohm Committee wants is one family service geared to meeting as many as possible of the needs of the family.'


Secretary of State for the Home Department, Secretary of State for Education and Science, Minister of Housing and Local Government, Minister of Health.
Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Local Authorities and Allied Personal Social Services: joint memorandum.
The National Archives; 1968.

House of Commons.
Social Services: The Seebohm Report; HL Deb 29 January 1969 vol 298 cc1168-93.
Hansard; 1969.