Creating greater flexibility, choice & control for care users

A new way of providing care for people in Cardiff is being introduced to provide a greater level of choice and control for those using the services.

Those with low level care needs in the city will be able to benefit from a simplified and improved  approach to direct payments ,  making it easier to arrange their own care rather than receiving care from the Council's commissioned care providers.

Many people already commission their own care via direct payments, usually by employing apersonal assistant (PA)which can be of significant benefit  in meeting individual's specific requirements such as language or cultural needs. However,  the use of PA does involve additional complexity and responsibility for the care user, as they are required to be  the PA's employer.

To help remove such barriers to using direct payments, the Council has partnered with Community Catalysts CIC, an organisation that specialises in working with local authorities to help local people provide care and support in the community by establishing micro-enterprises that help people to remain independent and support their wellbeing.

Community Catalysts will work with individuals who want to establish a very small business providing care and support in the community. The Community Catalyst development programme will ensure that the correct quality assurance is in place, such as DBS checks, public liability insurance, safeguarding policies and that the micro-enterprise is well run and sustainable. Once quality assurance checks have  been completed, they will be added to the "Small Good Things" directory of micro-enterprises, where people looking for care services can look for a micro-enterprise suited to their needs.

Cabinet Member forSocial Services (Adults), Cllr Mackie, said: "We are pleased to be working with Community Catalysts to help broaden the choice and availability of support  for people with low level needs. These services could be funded through social care or they may be services that individuals wish to pay for themselves.  The type of services that micro-enterprises can provide could include help with cleaning or preparing meals, companionship or support with personal care needs.

"Not only will this new project benefit care users, but improving access to direct payments will also create jobs and encourage an accessible form of entrepreneurship for people in the community who want to deliver care and support services. We hope this project will provide greater flexibility to care workers looking for limited hours of work, or inspecificlocalities too, as well as attracting new people to the care workforce."

Cabinet Member for Social Services (Children) Cllr Ash Lister said: "Many councils across the UK are now exploring the opportunities that micro-enterprises can offer in delivering care and support,and the creation of a pool of micro-enterprises will help meet the growing demand for care we have in Cardiff.

"We know that this approach is proving successful in other parts of Wales, helping to create and sustain new jobs in the care sector."

At its next meeting on Thursday September 21, Cabinet will be updated on the approach to encouraging and increasing the use of direct payments. The full report can be read here:


The report also recommends that a new direct payment rate, proposed at £16.86 an hour, is put in place for micro-enterprises which provide care and support, to ensure that they are compensated fairly and that any new businesses are able to provide sustainable, ongoing services.