==> Are you ready to open your residential children’s home?
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Are you ready to start the journey?
In business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a social care business – but you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation, and insight.
You can make a start by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as a potential owner and service provider.
Carefully consider and answer the following questions.
Have you decided on a business type?
Most new providers set themselves up as an organisation by establishing a limited company. It is possible to start up as an individual or a partnership, and you will need to decide what will work best for you.
An individual provider
The individual provider can be one person or made up of several people who wish to carry on an establishment or agency together without being a partnership or organisation.
Each person is wholly and equally responsible for ensuring that the establishment or agency follows the Care Standards Act 2000 and associated regulations and is named on the registration certificate.
Ofsted always carries out checks and interviews these individuals. Any regulatory action Ofsted takes against a registered provider may result in action against each person who makes up the registered provider.
When a partnership applies to register, each person in the partnership must apply and be granted registration.
Ofsted will need to see a copy of the agreement or document establishing the partnership as a legal entity.
Organisations include companies, charities, limited liability partnerships, unincorporated associations (such as committee-run provisions) and statutory bodies (such as local authorities).
If an individual operates as a limited company, it will be known as an organisation for registration purposes.
Ofsted needs to know about all the individuals that make up the registered provider. This could be the director, manager, secretary, clerk, treasurer, trustee, and similar officers. You must provide the details of all those who hold office.
All organisations must appoint a person to represent them in their dealings with Ofsted. This representative is known as the responsible individual.
Are you a self-starter?
It currently takes around 17 weeks to complete the registration process; this does not include the time it takes to prepare everything you need to submit for acceptance of your application (stage 1).
It will be entirely up to you to prepare all the documents and evidence needed for your application. You will need a property, a manager and a responsible individual before submitting your application.
You will need to sacrifice your time and ensure you have the finance and resources to develop the business and follow through.
One of the common mistakes we see with potential new providers is trying to do it all without any experience or time to get it done. This approach can lead to getting disheartened and even giving up. Often, they can be a couple of years down the road and still haven’t submitted their application.
- Are you going to be able to commit your time to this to see the project through?
- Do you have someone who will share the load or guide you?
- If you haven’t set up a children’s residential setting before, are you willing to work with a consultant or specialist to support you in getting registered and established?
Have you got experience?
Have you got experience in children’s social care?
If you don’t have experience, it will be essential to surround yourself with people who do.
Even if you have set up a successful business in the past or even worked with children, don’t automatically assume the skills are transferable!
Anyone who is part of the registration will be expected to know the raft of regulations and legislation that applies to children’s residential social care. You will need to convince the regulator that you have the skills and experience to safeguard vulnerable children and improve their outcomes.
The Registered Manager must have experience and qualifications set out in The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015.
The Responsible Individual will need to have a degree of skills and expertise to the extent that they can oversee the leadership and management of the home or service and be the point of contact with Ofsted.
How about the finance?
A children’s home is a place that is home to the most vulnerable young people in our society, and the costs associated with running a care home can be extensive.
In UK children’s homes, over three-quarters of places in England and Wales now come from independent providers. This figure is lower but still substantial in Scotland, with independent providers accounting for around one-third of placements.
The top 10 private children’s care home providers generate around £250m per year.
- Have you got a plan together of how much you will need to start your business and the expenditure of start-up costs in the first year?
- How will you manage this?
- Have you got access to money?
- How much will you need?
- Have you got access to investors?
- What do you estimate the returns to be in your first year of business?
Like any new business, it can take time to become established and to make a return on your investment. Are you able to commit financially to see it through? You can find out more about the costs to start your home and the fees to charge in our start-up package.
Do you know the registration process?
Be absolutely clear – Your application will have a greater chance of success if you are prepared and have a good understanding of the commitment that you are making.
One of the most frustrating parts of registration for any new provider is a delay in the process, adding weeks if not months to the time from application to acceptance.
The most common reason for delays in being accepted to apply for registration is that the details provided about the organisation do not match the details on the Companies House register or that registration documents are submitted with missing, incomplete or incorrect information.
Common reasons for delay include:
- the wrong people provided for referees on SC2 forms
- gaps in employment history
- incomplete DBS forms
- health self-declaration form without confirmation that a GP health form has been requested
- missing documents
- poor quality documents
- insufficient information in documents
- no evidence of planning permission
Avoid delays – all the documents you need to register a residential children’s home, including policies, are included in our children’s home start-up package.
How do you get along with different personalities?
Children’s residential care providers need to develop working relationships with various stakeholders, including regulators, commissioning and placement teams, social workers, service users, families, staff, and professionals such as investors, bankers, lawyers, accountants and consultants.
- Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable payee, or several potential business disruptions if your business interests demand it?
- Will you be able to make quick decisions on the types of clients you will receive, payment terms and staffing needs?
- Do you have good negotiating skills for agreeing on placement terms and fees for your placements to ensure your business is viable?
- Are you willing to persist with potential stakeholders and push through to establish your position as a new provider?
Are you ready for self-sacrifice?
Running a business can wear you down emotionally. Some business owners burn out quickly from having to carry all the responsibility for the success of their business on their shoulders.
Strong motivation will help you survive slowdowns and periods of burnout. Remember your why!
The first few years of a business start-up can be hard on family life. It’s essential for family members to know what to expect and for you to be able to trust that they will support you during this time.
There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk in the short term.
We work with many providers who have started out with high hopes and dreams, and they are still in the market to this day, achieving their ambitions and supporting the most vulnerable children in our society.
It can be a long and winding road, but with hard work and tenacity, you can join the many providers who are making a measurable difference in the lives of children and young people.
Are you ready to get started?