Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb today launched a 12 week consultation on new measures to protect people who rely on care services in the event of provider failure.
A system of checks on the finances of the largest care companies is proposed to give early warning of problems and to challenge financial models which could be unsustainable or compromise quality.
Under the proposals the Government would also introduce regulation of major care providers and, if a provider failed, there would be plans to support a well-managed exit.
The plans announced today, include measures to:
- oversee financial performance of providers
- challenge business models to make sure they can support the delivery of quality care services
- ensure businesses develop plans to recover from financial distress
- provide the regulator with information to develop contingency plans with local authorities for continuing care in the event of a failure
- coordinate and communicate with local authorities and relevant parties in the event of failure to ensure people’s care and support needs continue to be met.
Following the problems caused by the collapse of care provider Southern Cross, the government promised to consider the introduction of better oversight of the social care market.
Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:
“We want to make sure every person receiving care and support will continue to get the care they need if a provider exits the market, regardless of whether they are paid for by the state, or pay for care themselves.
“Southern Cross demonstrated that we need greater oversight of providers’ finances and better plans to support people if their independent provider goes out of business. We want to make sure care providers have plans in place to get their finances back on track and if this is not possible then a co-ordinated exit from the market happens. This means care service users know their needs will continue to be met.”
The Department is seeking views on the plans from care providers, service users, investors and others involved in the social care sector.
If these proposals are taken forward, the legislation would come into force with the Care and Support Bill in April 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.
The 12 week consultation ends on Friday 1 March 2013.
Download a copy of the Market oversight consultation document (PDF,308K)
If you would like to ask a question to clarify any of the points raised in this consultation please email the Department of Health social care policy and legislation team at: