New DH social care programme enforces private sector role

 A new Department of Health programme to ensure ‘quality and choice’ in social care will help to ensure that local authorities make a full range of providers available to service users.

The Developing Care Markets for Quality and Choice (DCMQC) programme backs up the draft Care and Support Bill (published in July), which requires local authorities to engage with private sector providers.

The DCMQC programme will help local authorities to facilitate local social care markets through Market Position Statements that inform providers about the services that are required.

The programme’s key priorities are choice (in terms of how personal care budgets are spent) and quality (in terms of providing “what people want”).

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “People deserve a high quality care service that meets their needs. Everyone’s needs are different. This new programme will increase choice in the care services provided to them.

“We want to improve the care services already in place by giving local authorities the skills to work together with their care providers and anticipate future priorities, pressures and challenges in order to tailor care for their communities.”

The programme and the accompanying legislation parallel the steps being taken to ensure that CCGs obey the ‘any qualified provider’ rules.

Local authorities will be required to publish Market Position Statements that shape the local social care market by setting out current and future demand trends, stating the desired outcomes and helping providers to update their service models.