3 Promoting diversity and quality in provision of services
This clause places a duty on local authorities to promote diversity and quality in the market of care and support providers in the local area. Providers of care and support may be of all types, including private sector organisations, not-for-profit and social enterprises, and mutuals. They may also be of different sizes, such as small and medium size enterprises and micro-providers.
Local authorities must also consider this duty when providing or arranging services to meet the care and support needs of adults (including carers). This is because local authorities’ commissioning practice can influence the local market of providers.
(1) A local authority must promote the efficient and effective operation in its area of a market in services for meeting care and support needs with a view to ensuring that any person wishing to access services in the market—
(a) has a variety of providers to choose from;
(b) has a variety of high quality services to choose from;
(c) has sufficient information to make an informed decision about how to meet the needs in question.
(2) In exercising that duty, a local authority must have regard to the following matters in particular—
(a) the need to ensure that the authority has, and makes available,
information about the providers of services for meeting care and
support needs and the types of services they provide;
(b) the need to ensure that it is aware of current and likely future demand for such services and to consider how providers might meet that demand;
(c) the importance of ensuring the sustainability of the market (in
circumstances where it is operating effectively as well as in
circumstances where it is not);
(d) the importance of fostering continuous improvement in the quality of such services and the efficiency and effectiveness with which such services are provided and of encouraging innovation in their provision.
(3) In meeting an adult’s needs for care and support or a carer’s needs for support, a local authority must have regard to its duty under subsection (1).
(4) A local authority may exercise the duty under subsection (1) jointly with one or more other local authorities in relation to the authorities’ combined area; and where they do so—
(a) references in this section to a local authority are to be read as references to the authorities acting jointly, and
(b) references in this section to a local authority’s area are to be read as references to the combined area.
(5) “Services for meeting care and support needs” means—
(a) services for meeting adults’ needs for care and support, and
(b) services for meeting carers’ needs for support.