The Department for Health will keep a close eye on councils’ participation in a new scheme to “develop social care markets,” its director of social care policy Shaun Gallagher has said.
Mr Gallagher was speaking at an event to launch the programme, called Developing Care Markets for Quality and Choice. Under plans in the social care white paper, published in July, councils will have a duty to “promote diversity and quality in the provision of services.”
The programme, for which the department will provide £700,000 over two years, will offer councils specialist support to write a ‘market position statement’ in which they outline their vision for care services.
Councils that accept the support will be encouraged to open talks with social care providers about the care services that need to be delivered locally.
The white paper describes this as a way of meeting the new duty to promote the diversity of service position.
Mr Gallagher said: “This needs to be a local initiative. But will we be interested in how it goes and who doesn’t seem to be engaging? Yes we will.”
Mr Gallagher’s comments came in response to a question from Des Kelly, executive director of the National Care Forum, who said: “The good local authorities are doing this already…It’s areas where those relationships don’t take place that things need to change. How can we do that if the programme is optional?”
Also at the event, the care services minister Norman Lamb (Lib Dem) told LGC the “great prize” he was working towards was a system in which the Dilnot reforms were in place alongside integrated health and social care services.