Starting any business is exciting but not easy. However, there are additional hurdles that you will encounter when starting a care business. These are the essential points to consider before you start to invest time and money to start your business:
Is the service going to be a regulated activity that requires registration with the care regulator?
England – The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Scotland – Care Inspectorate (Scotland) (CI)
Wales – Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
Have you got the relevant experience for the type of service you are planning to deliver i.e., Domiciliary Care or Supported Living? If you don’t have experience then you will need to gain experience or employ someone with the relevant experience – this applies to both regulated and non-regulated services.
For regulated services, you will need to have a registered manager who has at least 1 year of experience managing a similar service and possess a formal relevant management qualification equivalent to level 5. You will also need to have a Nominated/Responsible individual – both these positions can be the same person but as the business grows its good practice to split these responsibilities and have a dedicated person for each. For any registered role the candidates must pass the Fit and Proper Persons as detailed in Regulation 19 of the Health and Social Care 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
You must have an understanding of the relevant regulations i.e. In England the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2104 and other associated regulations such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and associated good practice guidance from the likes of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE)
With any new business venture, it is vital that you do your market research! For any service related to Health and Social Care whether regulated or not you need to contact with your Local Authorities Contracts and Commissioning Team to determine:
Do they need additional capacity for the service you are proposing?
- If yes what is the process for registering as an approved provider?
It will be the Local Authorities that commission the bulk of services but if you are targeting the private market detailed market research is even more important such as Market Size, Competitor Analysis and Routes to Market.
For community nursing services these may be jointly commissioned by the Local Authority and Local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) so you may need to speak to the CCG as well. For Nursing Services, you must also be able to demonstrate a system for checking Nurses credentials including having and renewing PIN numbers
Once you get to this stage, it is recommended you appoint an accountant to form the business entity and register it with companies’ house.
You will also need to register with Information Commissioner Office to comply with Data Protection regulations – this is also a requirement to register with the regulator and local authorities.
At this stage it’s time to establish the infrastructure of the business:
- The location/Premises
- Equipment – Computers etc.
- Organisation Structure
- Business Insurance
- ICO Registration
To register with the CQC, you must have the following in place
- Policies and Procedures
- Care Planning Templates/Forms
- Quality Management and Audit Tools
- Business Plan
- Training Matrix including induction process
- Business Continuity Plans
- Statement of Financial Viability
- Statement of Purpose
- Service User Guide
For Supported Living providers you must refer to the following guidance:
- Registering the Right Support
- The REACH Standards
- Building the Right Support
- The Real Tenancy Test
As you can see there is a lot to consider when starting up a care business. However, if you have the right motivation and experience there are many opportunities to be had in this ever-expanding and developing market.
Keith Ralph – Director
W&P Compliance & Training