Social care in England is defined as the provision of social work, personal care, protection or social support services to children or adults in need or at risk, or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty. Health has a multitude of commissioners, assessors and providers, and social care is no different. Local commissioners, mainly based in councils, oversee a market with many different types of social care provision available, either purchased by public bodies after assessments or accessed on a self-funded basis by the public. These include community support and activities, advisory services and advocacy, provision of equipment to manage disabilities, alarm systems such as those to manage the outcome of falls, home/domiciliary care or daycare, housing options with levels of care support attached and residential nursing home care, as well as support for informal carers. With this complex picture, it is small wonder that colleagues in healthcare fail to understand the social care landscape, and a changing landscape at that. The Care Act 2014 is an historic piece of legislation, not only because it includes the first overhaul of social care statute in England for more than 60 years, but also because the act will start to blur boundaries between health and social care. Here, Nick Smith, of Home Instead Senior Care – an independent UK home care provider which operates franchises providing home care support – writes for the WMAHSN in the first of series of guest blogs, examining the disparate social care terrain and how this contributes to the barriers to integration between health and social care.