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The future social care market

Briefing paper | October 2010

This briefing paper is one in a series developed by IPC for the National Market Development Forum. It examines the likely future shape of the social care market and the role of local authorities in it, in light of current trends and projected developments. Emphasising a continuing shift towards personally directed care, growing numbers of self-funders, and the requirement for more preventative, community-based intervention, the paper sets out some of the specific challenges likely to face the market - not least a long-term, demographically-led increase in demand at a time of restricted public funding.

The paper envisages local authorities continuing to move away from direct, frontline provision into a role as facilitators of the market, ensuring sufficient availability of supply, regardless of the route by which that care is purchased.

Drawing on expert discussion in the National Market Development Forum, the paper provides a series of working assumptions about the future market, from the near-certain to the more speculative, and the rationale behind each assumption. These include:

  • Growing numbers of older people controlling their care funding
  • Changing needs and attitudes to care of an older population
  • Consolidation in the home care market

It then sets out prospective challenges, for commissioners and providers, including:

  • Public funding cuts
  • The need to avoid disparities in care across regions and conditions
  • Rising demand for learning disability provision
  • Cost shunting between public care organisations

The paper concludes by mapping potential features of an ideal market, and the responses needed from local authorities to attain it.

For further information please contact Keith Moultrie at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088