Personalisation: Guide to fostering smaller providers launched

Guidance was launched today to help councils support the development of small providers to enhance choice for older and disabled people under personalisation.

Supporting micromarket development: a practical guide for local authorities is published by Naaps – the umbrella body for small community services – and draws on the experience of Department of Health-funded pilots on supporting smaller providers in Oldham and Kent.

The Micro Markets Project has involved setting up an agency in both areas to offer current and potential providers information, advice and support to adapt their services to new requirements or set up an enterprise.

Barriers for small providers

The guide says that micro providers – defined as those with five or fewer staff that are not part of a larger parent organisation – face growing regulatory, legislative and other barriers and in general numbers are falling.

It says that in every area there are entrepreneurs willing to set up new services but require the information and support to do so, and stresses that services will not simply emerge.

The guidance was launched by care services minister Phil Hope at an event in central London.

Key role

He said: “People don’t just want to be passive recipients of care anymore, they want services that fit around their needs and their lives. Small and micro providers have a major role to play in doing this, but councils need to make sure they work with small providers and include them in commissioning plans. This guidance will help them do that.”

The Micro Markets Project is now in its third and final year, with the focus on setting up a kite marking scheme for small providers, given the fact that many fall outside existing regulatory frameworks.

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