To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of competition in the care sector.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that provision in the care sector is provided on the basis of criteria other than the lowest possible cost.
The Care Act 2014 placed duties on local authorities in England to facilitate an effective local market to meet the needs of people in their area. This ‘market shaping’ duty includes understanding changes in local demand and engaging with care providers to encourage appropriate and quality services. The Department has supported local authorities with their market related duties through a sector-led approach and has recently brought together guidance and support in an online hub available on GOV.UK.
It is up to local authorities how they spend the extra money coming into the system but we would expect the additional resources to help them commission services that are sustainable, diverse and offer sufficient high quality care and support for people in their areas.
In 2014, the Government introduced tougher inspections for home care services and care homes to clamp down on poor services. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) thoroughly inspects each service and has powers to close those that do not improve and take tough action against owners. This inspection regime is playing a key role in driving up the quality of care. As of February 2017 CQC rates 77% of adult social care services as good or outstanding.