The two largest representative bodies for care providers, the English Community Care Association (ECCA) and the National Care Association (NCA), are to merge in order to provide a stronger voice for the independent care sector.
The merged organisation, which will be known as Care England, will launch on 1 January 2014, and would have a combined membership of about 7,500 services on current numbers.
“Our sector faces a period of considerable challenge which will require robust representation on behalf of our membership,” said the two chairs, Nadra Ahmed of the NCA and Jane Ashcroft of ECCA. “We believe that combining the two strong and respected organisations together will strengthen the voice of health and social care and give our membership a wider range of services,” .
Both organisations represent care home providers and domiciliary care agencies. ECCA includes among its diverse membership some of the largest care providers, such as Barchester Healthcare and HC-One, while NCA represents a large number of small and medium-sized providers, as well as some children’s homes.
The merger would still leave a number of national associations providing representation to care services, including:
- The United Kingdom Homecare Association for home care agencies;
- The National Care Forum for not-for-profit providers of both care homes and home care;
- The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group for voluntary sector providers of services to disabled people;
- Shared Lives Plus for micro-providers, Shared Lives carers and schemes and Homeshare programmes;
- The Registered Nursing Home Association for nursing homes;
- The Association for Real Change for providers of learning disability services;
- The Mental Health Providers Forum for not-for-profit mental health services.
These organisations, along with ECCA and the NCA, come together in the Care Providers Alliance (CPA), which was set up in 2009 to provide a combined voice for the various representative associations. CPA chair Alex Fox, who is also chief executive of Shared Lives Plus, welcomed today’s merger.
Adult provider bodies forge new alliance to increase clout