The Seebohm Committee 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 three 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 and other 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: ‘What the Seebohm Committee wants is one family service geared to meeting as many as possible of the needs of the family.’ (Baroness Brooke of Ystradfellte).