<p>The King’s Fund has established a Committee of Inquiry to consider care services for older people in London and whether there are likely to be sufficient care services of the right design and quality to meet needs in the short and longer term future. Much care provision, particularly social care services, now takes place in the context of market conditions. PSSRU were commissioned to produce an analysis of social care markets to inform the Inquiry, covering their operation, the role of public bodies and potential and actual levers that could be used to influence the market. The results of this are reported elsewhere.1 This summary draws out the main messages of that report.\ud \ud <p><p><p>We start by describing the nature of the social care market, including the objectives of social care, the extent of public and private purchasing and provision, and factors affecting demand and supply, before turning to an analysis of the performance of that market. The reasons why various problems have arisen are explored together with a discussion of likely future challenges. We end by discussing ways that public bodies might address these.\ud \u
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