Statement from PAC Chair on NAO report on oversight of user choice and provider competition in care markets

15 September 2011

National Audit Office: Oversight of user choice and provider competition in care markets

A statement from The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:

Encouraging user choice and provider competition by extending the use of personal budgets is a welcome aim. But it sets new challenges for government and local government and we will want to question officials on these.

The failure of Southern Cross is a stark example of why the Government needs plans in place for when large providers of social care get into difficulties. Southern Cross was the largest care home provider in the UK.

We will want to question why the Department did not have a strategy to tackle the failure of such a large provider.

Individuals need support in managing their budgets and local authorities must manage the costs to the taxpayer.

We will want to explore with the Department how localised best practice can be more widely shared.     

The Government intends to extend personal budgets to all eligible people by April 2013. As the Department develops its approach to social care it is essential that it considers carefully the issues raised in this report.

The report is available to read on the National Audit Office website.

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