“Local support for local people”
Small businesses, also known as Community Micro-enterprises or CME offer a wide range of care and support services, such as personal care (for example helping someone to get washed and dressed), cooking, cleaning, shopping, trips out or creative activities, learning life skills within our community or workplace support to be able to work. All services help people continue to live independently.
They are small businesses with between one and eight either paid or unpaid workers (full time equivalent) and must be independent of any larger organisation. They are usually set up by local people to support people in the community. Their size means that they can provide individually tailored support to meet the person’s social care need.
The purpose of the Community Micro-enterprise Project is to support local people to set up these small social care related businesses to help people to remain living independently in their own home, increase choices of activities and support as well as the locations of these services. This support for small social support businesses is funded by Worcestershire County Council and is run by social enterprise Community Catalysts.
Who are Community Micro-enterprises for?
Community Micro-enterprises are beneficial for those who:
- want a bespoke service to meet their needs and interests
- support and care at the times and places the person wants, which fits in with their current routines and lifestyle and how they would like to be supported
- cannot find the services they would like from the Council’s contracts, and would like a greater flexibility of options to fit around routines and seeing friends and family
- have a clear idea about the support they need
- are willing, able, and happy to take responsibility for organising and managing their own care, support, and activities
- wish to purchase care and support from a self-employed personal assistant or small business rather than employing a personal assistant. Purchasing care and support instead, means they have greater flexibility in how, when and where care is provided. This can also reduce the reliance on adult social care
- do not wish to or are struggling to employ a personal assistant, may be due to low/ flexible hours or location
- are in receipt of a Worcestershire County Council direct payment
- support for people who fund their own care (self-funders)
Having Community Micro-enterprises in our area increases the options of care and support available.
For people fully or partially funded by Worcestershire County Council Adult Social Care, community micro-enterprises will also provide a wide range of support services and options to spend your personal budget. By choosing to have your personal budget as a Direct Payment means you have greater choice and control over your care and support.
The same flexibility and variety of support will apply for people who fund their own care (self-funder).
How to find out about Community Micro-enterprises in your local community
Details of Community Micro-enterprises that provide services in Worcestershire can be found on
- Community Services Directory: SearchForHelp - the Council has a community services directory that has been set up to help Worcestershire residents search a wide range of support offered by charities, community groups, businesses, public sector, and other organisations across the whole of the county.
- The Small Good Stuff directory - this directory is run and maintained by Community Catalyst
- by following the project on Facebook: Community Catalysts Worcestershire
Please contact any community micro-enterprise directly to find further details including their availability, prices, and policies.
Services can be paid for by a direct payment or directly from your own funds.
What standards do Community Micro-enterprises operate to?
Community Micro-enterprises agree to work towards the ‘Doing It Right Standards’ of being safe, legal and sustainable for the support they are offering in their community.
These standards for all community micro-enterprises include:
- ensure DBSs remain up to date
- ensure that care and support is covered should an employee be on leave or unplanned leave (a contingency plan)
- create a support plan with you which identified your goals
- demonstrates respect/ privacy/ confidentiality and always promote dignity
- provides a contract which details rates, terms and conditions, complaints procedures and more
- identify and address any risks or health and safety concerns
- communicate clearly and regularly with regards to the services provided
- keep up to date with training and qualifications for the roles required
- provide invoices and clear methods of payment in a timely manner
- provide a clear cost breakdown of their service
- honours commitments agreements and arrangements to provide services
They are supported in this by Community Catalysts. Community micro-enterprises already set up should meet the same standards.
Some of these small community businesses will not offer personal care support, in which case they will not be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Community micro-enterprises that do offer personal support will need to seek advice on whether they need to register with the CQC or not. Please seek advice on whether registration is required or not: Scope of registration: Regulated activities - Care Quality Commission (cqc.org.uk).
However, there is an exemption from registration if the small business or microenterprise is an individual and is contracted directly by the person (or related third party), working under their control and direction. Community Catalysts will support the community micro-enterprises through the process if registration is needed.
What are the training standards for Community Micro-enterprises?
The level of training and qualifications are dependent on the services offered by the community micro-enterprise provider.
As a baseline we would expect the community micro-enterprises to have, as a minimum, the following training:
- First Aid
- Safeguarding (children and adults)
- Food Hygiene (if any preparation of food)
- Data Protection - General Data Protection Requirements (GDPR) and handling personal information
- Equality Diversity and Inclusion
- Healthy and Safety, and Risk Management
And depending on the services provided:
- Infection Control
- Medication and record keeping (in line with CQC)
- Nutrition and hydration
- Manual Handling
- there may also be specific training to meet an individual’s needs that would need to be completed
If the community micro-enterprise is CQC registered, then the Care Certificate needs to be completed: The Skills for Care website hosts some useful information on the care certificate: Care Certificate (skillsforcare.org.uk).
The community micro-enterprises should also have public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance (if employing staff) in place. It is also recommended that they have policies and procedures including safeguarding documented.
Want to set up a Community Micro-enterprise?
Community Catalysts is a social enterprise working across the UK to make sure that people who need care and support to live their lives can get help in ways, times and places that suit them, with real choice of attractive local options.
Community micro-enterprises work with people who will be in receipt of a Worcestershire County Council Direct Payment, in addition to self-funders. This mix of clients aids sustainability of these small businesses.
If you or someone you know might want to set up a community micro-enterprise, please leave your details on the Community Catalysts website contact page, using the link: Community Catalyst contact.
Or you can contact the Worcestershire Community Catalyst, Launa Brooks on:
Telephone: 07741 260 676.
What training can Community Micro-enterprises access?
Qualifications can play a key role in learning and development and there are a wide variety of training available for the adult social care workforce, from entry level into the sector and career progression Awards and certificates to enable workers to continue their professional development through qualifications.
There is coaching support for Community Micro-enterprises. This may be to set up as self-employed or to develop their own existing small business. This support for small businesses is funded by Worcestershire County Council and run by social enterprise Community Catalysts. As part of the registration process, members have access to resources from Community Catalyst.
However, additional training and development opportunities are available from a variety of options, including the following:
- via the Small Good Stuff – Resources website which can signpost you to local training
- Age UK training
- National Association of Carers and Support Workers (NACAS) who offer funded and free training for members. If you are a support worker and wish to become a member, visit: National Association of Care & Support Workers - Community, Us, Join (nacas.co.uk) and Training and Development (nacas.co.uk) for training information.
There is sometimes free training available by your employer insurance provider e.g., Mark Bates, FISH and Surewise