Market Position Statements (MPSs)

The government wishes to see a diverse range of good quality care providers for people to choose from so that that they can access the right services for themselves and their families at the right time and the right place. The government has placed a duty on local authorities to realise this vision:

To strengthen this diversity, the Government will introduce a duty upon local authorities to promote diversity and quality in the provision of services (Caring for Our Future 2012)

Local authorities will also have to:

  • Monitor local providers and ensure they offer a range of responsive care and support services.
  • Commission services on the basis of quality, outcomes and value, and
  • Develop a leadership role in terms of identifying the needs of local people, supporting communities, empowering people to take control and providing information and advice.

Local authorities are expected to shape or facilitate their market to ensure this happens. As a first step in this direction local authorities have to produce a Market Position Statement (MPS).

What is a market position statement (MPS)?

An MPS is a brief and analytical document that contains market intelligence. This intelligence includes information on the current demand and supply of services across the full range of service users and providers, the levels of resourcing and the steps the authority will take to facilitate this.

These statements will provide a powerful signal to the market by identifying care and support needs across the community and explaining how the local authority intends to buy in services in the future. The statements will also mean that companies providing care and support know who they are designing services for so they can develop the right care for the right people.

Local authorities are currently being supported by the Department of Health to develop their MPS’s through the Developing Care Markets for Quality and Choice Programme.

What are the characteristics of an MPS?

The MPS should have five substantive characteristics:

  • It should present a picture of demand and supply now, what that might look like in the future and how strategic commissioners will support and intervene in a local or regional market in order to deliver this vision.
  • It should be a brief, analytical document that is clear about the distinction between description and analysis. If you are a provider you will come to your own judgements about where and in what amount to invest in a market but to do that you not only need to understand the direction the LA is taking but also why is it going in that direction and based on what evidence?
  • It should support its analysis by bringing together material from a range of sources such as JSNAs, surveys, contract monitoring, market reviews and statistics into a single document which presents the data that the market needs to know and use if providers are to develop effective business plans.
  • It should cover all potential and actual users of services in the local area, not just those that the state funds.
  • It should be the start, not the end point, of a process of market facilitation. Therefore, the MPS is the basis for strategic commissioning and is a document to be published, reviewed and updated regularly.

What are the contents of an MPS?

  • A summary of the direction the local authority and its commissioning partners wish to take and the purpose of the document.
  • The Local Authorities picture of the current state of supply covering strengths and weaknesses within the market.
  • Identified models of practice the local authority and its partners encourage.
  • The likely future level of resourcing.
  • The support the local authority will offer towards meeting the ideal models.

How can the MPS be used?

The MPS should be developed with providers and other key stakeholders and should act as an active steer of the market. It should be a live document that is updated to reflect local changes.