For people commissioning or planning for services in an area

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There is a lot that Councils and the new Health and Social Care Partnerships can do to support the development of micro enterprises. This is an integral part of the way they ensure that people in their area have access to support that will lead to people having good outcomes in their lives.

Encourage and support wide-ranging conversations about what a good life means for older people, the gaps that they see and what could help fill them.

Self-directed support policies and practice have a big impact.
• Have processes that focus on the outcomes for people getting support, and be open to ideas on ways to achieve this.
• Look at how individual people get to know about the range of possible sources of support.
• Look at how staff learn about the range of possible solutions that can be included as part of care plans.
• Think about how you explain what the range of current and potential support providers do.
• Look at ways to develop or use a quality mark or other ways to show which services and supports are good quality, to reassure staff and the public.

Public bodies can also do a lot to help new small ventures or groups get underway.
• Make sure a wide range of people know about access to small sources of funding to try out ideas, such as innovation programmes and community grants.
• Look at your commissioning approach, and whether this works for smaller and newer organisations as well as for established ones.
• Find ways to include the people who are part of micro enterprises in the way strategies and plans are developed. For example, when there are only 1 or 2 people running a service it is hard for someone to come to day-long meetings.

Make the links with other aspects of public sector responsibilities.
• Community planning: developing a range of support providers, including micro enterprises, is part of ensuring that all the resources in a local area work together to give people a good life and there are thriving, sustainable communities.

• Economic development: supporting micro enterprises is part of Councils’ role in ensuring that there is the right mix of employment opportunities and businesses in the area.

• Equality duties: public bodies have responsibility to ensure that services work well for all groups and people. Micro enterprises are often a way of ensuring that all people have the type of support that meets their circumstances.

Support the changes that run through all of these roles and responsibilities.
• Give people time to get used to a different way for older people to get and to give support: this includes staff across the range of roles and people who get support and their families.

• Give staff in many settings encouragement and support to work with micro providers as part of the range of people supporting their clients or patients. Examples are Community Mental Health Teams, Addictions services and Community Justice services.

• Reassure people who are less familiar with micro enterprises – especially in a care and support context – that this is a safe way for people to get support. This includes elected members and staff in senior roles.


More information

Catherine Needham and others: Micro-Enterprises: care and support on a scale that’s ‘just right’?, University of Birmingham and Economic and Social Research Council, 2015

Think Personal Act Local: Top Tips – commissioning for market diversity: 2015

Getting There is hosted by Outside the Box: Privacy