Social enterprise urges online markets for social care

The government and Care Quality Commission have been urged to help create online marketplaces where care users and providers can trade directly with each other, as part of the personalisation agenda.

The call comes from Wingham Rowan, programme director of Slivers-of-Time Working, a social enterprise that builds online markets where people can make short-term trades in goods or services.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report by Rowan calling on government to enable wider use of “person-to-person” markets, including in adult care. This would enable users to book vetted carers or providers who were available at particular times.

However, Rowan told Community Care that the Department of Health and CQC needed to reduce barriers to such markets being set up. Obstacles included the need for registered domiciliary providers to carry out risk assessments in users’ homes, limiting users’ ability to switch between providers.

A DH spokesperson said: “The department has funded some of the work that Slivers has been involved in and would like to see how this can be helped to work. Many of the issues raised by Slivers are matters for the CQC to consider.”

A CQC spokesperson said it agreed that councils’ performance assessment should promote good support for people to arrange personalised care, but not to dictate how authorities did this. He added: “Electronic communication may be easier for some than others”.

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