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Top tips for starting a care agency

Posted 03 Dec 18

Setting up a social enterprise, whether that be a domiciliary care agency or home care agency could be one of the most rewarding career moves you make.  If you have a burning desire to make the world a better place and a keen eye for business then you might have been thinking about how to start a care agency.

Thinking About Setting Up A Social Enterprise?

If you;re sick of working for a terrible boss and dream of going it alone, the thought of self employment may well be attractive but it isn’t all plain sailing. There are a lot of positives and negatives to weigh up, but one of the most important things to consider is the market you are hoping to conquer. The benefit of setting up a care agency means you’ll be operating in a marketplace desperately in need of your services. There will always be competition but a good domiciliary care agency start up, if planned properly and set up with CQC registration, should have a pretty good chance at success simply due to demand.

The need for domiciliary care is on the rise, with one study suggesting that demand for care home places will increase by over three quarters in the next 20 years. There are a number of reasons for this, one being the lack of available domiciliary and care homes to meet an ageing UK population, where many local authorities can expect around 25% of their population to be aged 65 or over. With approximately 517,000 adults receiving state funded homecare and 527,000 adults receiving help from social services, the delivery of care in the UK is huge and not looking to decline any time soon.

Benefits of Setting Up A Care Agency

Gone are the days of social isolation and passing away time infront of a screen, the opportunities to make the lives of those in residential care the best they can possibly be really are endless. From setting up social activities such as the ‘gents club’ seen in Laughton, or  facilitating a pen pal scheme between residents and local primary school children as successfully demonstrated by a care home in Wales. Although small in scale, it’s the heart-felt initiative of those setting up a social enterprise such as a care home that can make the world of difference to those in need of a little help.

Pulling Together A Domiciliary Care Agency Plan

One of the first steps is to ensure you are legally set up to take on the responsibilities of a domiciliary care agency start up. Obtaining CQC registration (Care Quality Commision) is an absolute necessity for anyone setting up a care home in England. It is a legal requirement under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and is there to ensure compliance with essential quality standards across the sector. If you’re not based in England it’s worth noting that CQC registration holds equal weight to the SCSWIS in Scotland and CSSIW in Wales.

Around 84% of UK homecare providers are in the private and voluntary sector and so if you’ve been thinking about how to start up a care agency, rest assured your business is the norm in the sector, with the majority seeking out private care. Starting a care agency from home, like all good things, starts with a plan so make sure you have one in place.

Find Yourself A Registered Manager

When working through the CQC registration process you will come across the need for a ‘registered manager’, a person who plays a key role in the setting up a social enterprise and beyond. Because of its importance, the CQC will be scrutinising your choice of person for the job to ensure they have all of the relevant qualifications (such as a Level 5 Diploma) and experience needed to take on the role. So make sure you set aside the time to get it right.

Allocate a Responsible Individual

If you’re setting up a care agency, much like a registered manager, you will also need to allocate a responsible individual in order to successfully pass the CQC registration and make the care business of your dreams, a reality. Same rules apply in terms of qualification needed, but the responsible individual may not need to provide care as such, their role will be more tailored to a more generally overseeing the running of your care agency or business. There can be cross over between the registered manager and responsible individual, meaning in some cases it can be the same person. If you’re setting up a social enterprise and need extra guidance on recruiting these role please see the Skills for Care website.

Qualified To Start A Care Agency?

If you’re dedicated to setting up a social enterprise, the CQC require that “care providers show that they are complying with the relevant regulations covering staff competence and training”. In short, not everyone can go about setting up a care agency nor can they work in the environment if they happen to fancy a change in career. As a business owner you must ensure that all of your workforce, at whatever level, must have completed the Common Induction Standards (CIS) within 12 weeks of starting employment.

Employing Staff And Funding

You probably won’t get too far in setting up a social enterprise without a sturdy funding stream to make it successful, and sometimes this can prove tricky for domiciliary care agency start ups. If you notice a funding stream has been advertised that you would like to apply for, the first thing to do is register your interest. You’ll then receive a Pre Qualification Questionnaire where you’ll be asked to provide a range of supporting information,  and from there you’ll know whether you’ve been shortlisted.
Starting a care agency is pretty difficult without the employees to carry out the fantastic care services you are hoping to offer.  You’ll need trustworthy, qualified staff to really get your domiciliary care agency up and running and with some time and effort it shouldn’t be too hard to find them. If you do find yourself in need of a little extra help, take a look at the Department of Innovation, Business and Skills site as well as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

A Little Help With CQC Registration

The CQC registration process can be a little daunting and so to save time and money, many business owners are looking to external sources for a little extra help . The trick here is to find a company which understands that each and every business venture is unique, this will allow them to carefully sculpt a service to fit your needs. Companies such as PNG Formations offer extensive support in the areas of business consulting, company formation and CQC compliance. If you would like a little extra guidance on the CQC process,  why not take a look at PNG’s guide to CQC Registration or take a look at their CQC registration packages.