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Department of Health

Care Act 2014: How should local authorities deliver the care and support reforms? Please give us your views

Delegation of local authority functions

The Act introduces a new power to local authorities to delegate certain of their functions under the Act to an external organisation. This is intended to allow maximum flexibility for local authorities to design innovative models in how they exercise their functions and improve the quality of care and support for its population.

When delegating their functions, local authorities retain ultimate responsibility for how they are carried out. As such, people using care and support will always have a means of redress against the local authority.

The draft guidance on delegation of local authority functions covers:

  • overview of the approach to delegation
  • the importance of contracts
  • which functions may not be delegated
  • the difference between legal delegation and outsourcing or commissioning activities
  • identifying and avoiding conflicts of interest

When local authorities delegate care and support activities to another party, the contract between the two will govern how the activity is carried out.

Contracts should include stipulations which ensure that the activities are carried out in a way that is compatible with all of the local authority’s legal obligations, for example, its obligations under the Human Rights Act. The local authority will retain responsibility to users of care and support for how its functions are carried out and the contract will be the means by which the local authority holds the contractor to account for how they exercise the function. The strength of the contracts is therefore of vital importance.

Question 63: Are there any core principles or requirements that local authorities should always place on contractors when delegating care and support functions?

Read: guidance on delegation of local authority functions Back to delegation of local authority functions

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