Recent good news for small co-operatives in Wales

Repost from the Care to Cooperate newsletter. Read all the content in the latest newsletter here. Sign up to receive the newsletter here
Changes to domiciliary care regulations* will allow more co-operatives to emerge. This will be of particular interest to people who employ their own Personal Assistants using Direct Payments or other means. Here’s now what’s possible:

1. Families, carers and people who employ their own personal assistants can now join together to form a co-operative. Personal assistants can now be employed by the co-operative and can provide assistance to the members of the co-operative. These co-operatives can provide care and support to no more than four people. Before the recent changes to regulations, this type of small co-operative would have faced the same level of regulation as a large domiciliary care organisation.

2. Personal Assistants can now join together to form a co-operative for to support one another and to advertise their services to families and citizens. This arrangement will not face regulation.

This is what else do you need to know…

What’s the difference between a co-operative and a privately owned businesses offering care and support services?

A co-operative is owned and under the control of its members, people who are receiving care and support services, their families, their friends and people who work as Personal Assistants.

In a co-operative, the people who receive care and support have ownership and control over the organisation, and are fully involved in strategic and long-term decisions. People stay in control of their services designing packages of support based on their own personal requirements.

How will a co-operative benefit me?  Co-operatives provide benefits for all their members – here’s what you can expect:

  • More opportunities to meet with other people who are co-operative members to share support services, socialise and plan activities together.
  • Pooling of Direct Payments and other resources to purchase support of Personal Assistants and for sharing social activities.
  • Participation in a co-operative can help you better achieve your individual well-being by increasing your independence, giving new opportunities for learning, growing your social networks, playing a bigger role in your community and having the chance to help others.
  • Planning for your care and support arrangements for the long-term so it continues into the future.

For Personal Assistants employed by the co-operative:

  • Being a member of a co-operative will make it easier for Personal Assistants to offer their services to a number of different people who are also members of the co-operative. This allows greater flexibility and also makes it easier for people who are members to find Personal Assistant support.

For family members and friends who are members of the co-operative:

  • Families, carers and people using Direct Payments can get together to set up a co-operative that will employ Personal Assistants. This is an alternative solution to one person being responsible for employing Personal Assistants. The co-operative can now employ Personal Assistants in its own name and can agree how to manage and share their support amongst its members.

Care to Co-operate is working with the ‘Family First Co-operative’ who will be the first group in Wales to adopt this type of co-operative model. We have worked with the group to move through the stages required to form a successful co-operative.

“We feel we have reached a really exciting point in our journey, which confirms the commitment of all involved in our daughter’s current care, to collectively ensure her future security and wellbeing. It’s also time to reflect on the enormous support which we have received from Care to Co-operate”

– Member of the Family First Co-operative

We’ve given an overview of the stages in our “Road to Co-operation” board game. Why not take a look here:

* The regulations will be debated by Welsh Government in December and come into force in April 2018.

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