Delivering Public Services: Achieving Value for Money Through Markets (National Audit Office / Audit Commission)


The National Audit Office  (NAO)’s “Delivering public services through markets: principles for achieving value for money” report outlines ten principles for the Government’s policymakers and officials to consider when attempting to achieve value for money by the market-based delivery of public services.

The authors point to risks and opportunities in seeking to achieve value for money from delivering services through markets and in the introduction of greater choice and competition in public service delivery, whether in central government or in local authorities. Section headings in this document, comprise:

  • Rules for ensuring a competitive market.
  • Enabling users to participate actively in the market.
  • Promoting healthy competition between providers.
  • Ensuring the market is delivering the public policy objectives.

The ten principles identified are:

Rules for Ensuring a Competitive Market (Part Two)

  • Principle One: There are rules to ensure the effective operation of the market.
  • Principle Two: The rules of the marketplace are enforced if necessary.

Enabling Users to Participate Actively in the Market (Part Three)

  • Principle Three: Users are empowered to make appropriate choices.
  • Principle Four: Users have effective mechanisms for redress.

Promoting Healthy Competition Between Providers (Part Four)

  • Principle Five: There is a level playing field for all providers, whether public or private.
  • Principle Six: Providers can easily enter the market, expand and exit.
  • Principle Seven: There are arrangements to ensure service continuity where provider failure could result in harm to users.

Ensuring the Market is Delivering the Public Policy Objectives (Part Five)

  • Principle Eight: Market oversight is based on good quality financial monitoring and market intelligence.
  • Principle Nine: The oversight body has sufficient expertise to understand the market and will intervene, if appropriate, to remedy market failures.
  • Principle Ten: The body responsible for delivery of public policy regularly reviews whether public service outcomes are being delivered.

The subject of dementia is touched upon very briefly when discussing a framework illustrating types of user interaction with markets, given that public services markets can differ in terms of the type of market (local to national) and the type of user choice (individual to mediated).

Full Text Link


National Audit Office, (2012). Delivering public services through markets: principles for achieving value for money. London: National Audit Office, (NAO), June 2012.

Social Care for Older People: Value for Money Profiles Data (Audit Commission)

The following Audit Commission briefing looks at influences on the funding of social care for older people. It is based on Value for Money profiles of how much councils spend on services, comparing costs and performance.

Full Text Link


Social care for older people: using data from the Value for Money profiles, July 2013. London: Audit Commission, July 2013.

The next document explains the levelling methodology, with reference to the VFM briefing on adult social care (above).

Full Text Link


VfM briefings: levelling methodology paper, June 2013. London: Audit Commission, June 2013.

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Commissioning, Community Care, For Researchers (mostly), For Social Workers (mostly), National, National Audit Office, Practical Advice, Proposed for Next Newsletter, Quick Insights, Standards, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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