This report, which draws on discussions from a roundtable held on the eve of the coronavirus outbreak, analyses the performance of the residential care market in England.
The market-based provision of residential social care is not widely acknowledged in public discourse and, at times, in policymaking circles. Much attention has rightly been given to finding a long-term funding solution for the social care sector. But little is said of the market which provides social care and how well it is functioning.
Any future reform of the residential care market – either in the near or long term – must take stock of the operation of that market, including how competitive it is; who has market power; and whether the market contributes to achieving the aim of providing good quality care at affordable prices to those who need it.
This report therefore analyses the provision of social care in England and makes a series of recommendations following on from the Competition and Markets Authority’s 2017 study of the care home market. This includes backing the CMA’s recommendation for an “independent body” to oversee the care market. The report argues that the independent body should be responsible for providing improved forecasting of demand for and cost of social care in England, and national guidelines for the minimum cost of care services. The report identifies the Care Quality Commission as well-placed to take on responsibility for running the independent body.