Each month hundreds of new adult social care services are established across the country.
The opening of a new care service follows many months of careful planning and preparation to ensure you can deliver high quality care and support.
The majority of these new services go on to be highly successful care providers, improving the lives of the people they support. Unfortunately, some other new services never become operational, failing to find the clients or staff they need to sustain their business.
The time, money, energy, and expertise needed to set up a new care service can be considerable. If you are thinking about opening a new care organisation, please follow the steps below.
1. Research and decide the type of care you wish to provide
There are a wide range of adult social care organisations operating in England. This includes residential care homes, nursing homes, homecare, supported living, extra care, shared living services, respite care, reablement services, day care etc.
Search online to learn more about the different types of care services before deciding what care and support you would like to offer. Skills for Care recommends choosing to set up a type of service that reflects the experience, expertise, and passion for providing high quality care.
2. Check if your new service requires CQC registration
If your service will deliver personal care in England, it will most likely need to be registered and regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The formal CQC registration process is comprehensive. Following submission of the application, the CQC will review and arrange interviews. Please note that an organisation that delivers personal care can only become operational after CQC approval has been granted.
Skills for Care recommends that if CQC approval is required, carefully plan your application, and ably prepare the proposed managers and leaders for the CQC interview. Be patient, the CQC registration process can sometimes take a number of months to complete.
If CQC registration is not required, the process of setting up a new care organisation can be much quicker but much of the information and advice included below will still be useful.
3. Understand the local care market
Research the care market and understand who else is operating in the location you are considering. The NHS website enables you to search for care services and better understand the local marketplace.
Skills for Care is a leading source of workforce intelligence for the adult social care workforce in England. Our reports can help you understand national, regional, and local information about care sector trends and help you benchmark against other services.
4. Understand what good care looks like
CQC regulated providers will be regularly inspected to ensure they are delivering good and outstanding care. The CQC inspection process look at a wide range of issues when inspecting care services to ensure care is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.
Skills for Care’s Good and outstanding care guide is a comprehensive resource highlighting our recommendations to meet CQC expectations. Whilst you would only need to demonstrate this once operational, the guide can help you to plan a service that will satisfy the CQC inspection process.
5. Plan how you will find your clients
Before opening, invest time and effort in identifying how you are going to find your clients
If you will need to be registered with the CQC, ensure you have a clear plan for identifying how you will attract people who need care and support before you submit your application.
For new organisations hoping to secure commissions from local authorities, undertake research into their procurement process (search for local authorities here). Check that these local authorities are looking to commission with new services and what you will need to demonstrate to win business. Have a Plan B in case the local authority does not commission your new organisation.
If you are aiming to target private clients, plan how you will raise awareness and the trust of your new service. Develop a marketing plan and consider associated practicalities such as creating a website etc.
6. Plan how the service will be managed
Good or outstanding managers and leaders are essential to deliver the quality of care that is expected whether the new organisation is CQC regulated or not.
If CQC registration is required, the regulator expects those managing and leading the service to be Fit and proper. The CQC will expect that the registered manager role and other director level positions are undertaken by highly experienced and qualified managers or leaders.
Skills for Care’s Recommendations for CQC Provider Guide provides a summary of what may be needed for those managing and leading the service. Whilst only the CQC can ultimately decide, our guidance and advice can help you to identify courses and qualifications that could strengthen the likelihood of CQC approval.
Our managing a service website section brings together many of the practical resources that can help.
7. Plan how you will recruit your staff
Recruitment is a challenge for adult social care providers and the high turnover of staff in some services can be an expensive on-going running cost.
Skills for Care provides a range of recruitment related guidance, advice, and resources to help all care organisations to safely recruit with the right values to deliver high quality care.
We also share a range of examples from other services about how they successfully recruit so you can adopt similar approaches.
8. Plan how you will induct, develop, and manage your staff
Safe and effective care requires a capable and confident workforce. This will require the new service to train, assess and support their staff.
Skills for Care does not deliver any training, but our recommended Endorsed learning providers cover everything from basic inductions through to management level qualifications.
CQC regulated services will need to ensure that any new and inexperienced care worker induction covers the Care Certificate, which combines practical training, knowledge learning and workplace assessment of competence. Longer-term development opportunities are explained in our Guide to developing your staff.
Our Managing people website section covers practical ways to performance manager, supervise and support staff wellbeing.
9. Invest in external support and expertise
To save time when setting up a new care provider, consider commissioning other services to help you or take advantage of free information and resources that can help.
We have included some recommendations below if you are able to invest in external assistance. There may be other organisations that may provide similar types of support, but the following can help you to get started.
- Quality Compliance Systems (QCS) can save a lot of time and effort by compiling 85 documents that will support a CQC application, as well as guidance and advice to make your service financially viable etc. Read more about their Registration Pack and associated costs here.
- Skills for Care expertise relates to recruitment, development, and leadership of staff. If you want one to one support in the setting up of your new care organisation on these matters, our Consultancy Support offer can help.
Skills for Care, NICE and SCIE also produce a range of free guidance and advice that can help you to shape a service that meets the needs of the people you support.
10. What to do once you are operational
Once your new organisation becomes operational, we would recommend the following:
- Get in touch with your Skills for Care locality manager - Our locality managers can signpost you to relevant information, tools and funding opportunities. They run local workshops and network events, and can help you to make the most out of what Skills for Care offers. Find out who your locality manager is here.
- Benchmark yourself with other care providers for free and be eligible for Skills for Care funding opportunities by creating an Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) account.
- If CQC regulated, ensure your manager connects with other local services at a local and national level for peer support. Deepen your Registered Manager’s understanding and expertise by joining Skills for Care Membership.