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Care Act 2014

Section 5 – Promoting diversity and quality in provision of services

73.This section places a duty on local authorities to facilitate and promote a diverse and high quality market of care and support services (including prevention services) for all people in their local area regardless of who arranges and pays for those services. In particular, local authorities must act with a view to ensuring that there is a range of different services and providers to choose from.

74.Subsection (2) lists certain factors a local authority must consider when exercising this duty. These include the importance of ensuring the sustainability of the market and supporting continuous improvement in the quality of services; making available information about the services available to people in its area; facilitating the local market by maintaining awareness of the current and future demand for services in its area, and how this demand can be met by providers; the importance of carers and service users being able to undertake work, education and training; and the importance of fostering an effective workforce capable of delivering high quality services.

75.Subsection (3) requires local authorities, when considering current and future local demand and how this might be met by providers, to consider the need for there to be sufficient services to meet the needs of people in their area.

76.Subsection (4) requires local authorities to consider, when making decisions about commissioning services, the importance of promoting the well-being of people with care and support needs and carers.

77.Subsection (5) requires that the local authority must have regard to the duty when either providing or arranging services to meet the care and support needs of adults with care needs and carers. This is because local authorities’ commissioning practices affect the local market of providers.

78.Subsection (6) acknowledges that local authorities might work together to exercise this duty. Local authorities might want, for example, to consider the sustainability and diversity of provision across their borders, in order to promote a flexible and responsive market for their local communities.

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