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Summary of business support available to support the care marketplace in Staffordshire

 Other contents




As collective public sector organisations commissioning health and adult social care services, we have systems in place to provide guidance and support where we can within our existing budgets, influence and expertise to support a sustainable adult social care marketplace. Naturally it has its limits.

We also recognise we are not the only organisations with an interest in the adult social care market sector in Staffordshire. 

Currently, it is not straightforward for adult social care businesses (regardless of their size, nature and operational experience) to know where to get appropriate business support information, advice and guidance available in the area. In recognition of this, Staffordshire County Council, the Staffordshire clinical commissioning groups and Stoke on Trent City Council has teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Hub to provide as comprehensive a list of support available to local business as we can.

This information is designed to make it clear about:

  • what support we are aware is available
  • if there are any conditions or expectations linked to that support
  • where businesses can go for further information in a quick reference guide

It also provides key mechanisms to support the marketplace to stay up to date with opportunities as they emerge.


Funding support available   Back to top

Business growth funding streams

The illustration above shows the funding streams available to Staffordshire businesses:

  • Local Enterprise Partnership Growing Places Fund
  • European Regional Development Fund
  • Equity Finance scheme
  • Debt finance pot
  • BCRS UK loans


Grant funds available for Staffordshire businesses   Back to top

European Regional Development Fund

The only grant funding available to support business growth is through this fund.

Health and Social Care businesses fall into a category of ‘activities of human health’. Unfortunately this is not eligible for this funding.

80% of business accounts revenue would need to be business to business and not business to consumer through this funding stream.

Workforce Development Fund

This is a fund that adult social care businesses can claim towards the costs of their employees completing:

  • adult social care qualifications and learning programmes on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)
  • university qualifications included in the Higher Apprenticeship in Care Leadership and Management

The Care Market Development team disperses the funding. You can only claim it for completed qualifications or learning programmes, shown by a copy of the learner's certificate.

Please note: there is a financial limit per learner within a single funding year.

Further information

Please contact us:


Business loans   Back to top

Local Enterprise Partnership 'Growing Places Fund'

  • A 0% interest loan for businesses
  • £1 million (in total) fund allocated annually at present on a first come first served basis to successful applicants
  • Requires:
    • a detailed business plan
    • to demonstrate it is deliverable in a short timescale, will create jobs or housing, provides returns that can be reinvested locally by the LEP and attracts further private investment
    • the business to be a rate payer in either Staffordshire or Stoke on Trent

  Further information is available on their website.

Midlands Engine Investment Fund 'Equity Finance' scheme

  • £35 million fund in the West Midlands aimed at small and medium enterprises (up to £2 million available to businesses and additional Midven operational and strategic support)
  • Available to start up, early stage or established businesses
  • Open to businesses with potential for high growth with material operations or planning to open with material operations in the West Midlands, East and South East Midlands
  • Requires:
    • a detailed business plan
    • ambitious growth plans
    • A clear exit strategy

Further information is available on their website.

Applicants can also attend investment readiness workshops.

Midlands Engine Investment Fund 'Debt Finance' scheme

  • Available for businesses with up to 250 employees (larger SME’s) that can demonstrate growth potential
  • Provides business loans of between £100k-£1.5 million at 8-10% APR
  • Requires:
    • a detailed business plan
    • ambitious growth plans

Further information is available on their website.

BCRS business loans

  • £10k-£250k loans that can be used for a wide range of projects including working capital, purchasing equipment, start-ups, recruitment and marketing


  • Available to businesses making a positive contribution to the social, environmental or economic well-being of the West Midlands
  • Designed for businesses unable to get loans from conventional credit scoring methods and traditional sources such as banks (including lack of track record; unreasonable security arrangements; past financial problems or simply not meeting)

Further information is available on their website.

Business development managers are available to develop loan applications.


Other wider business support available   Back to top

Business start up support (Chamber of Commerce)

Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce 5 stage fully funded business start-up programme (available in Stoke or Stafford) for self-employed individuals or business looking to grow providing training, support, advice and commercial investment.

This support covers the fundamentals of business such as:

  • tax
  • VAT
  • employing staff
  • financial forecasting

It also provides 1:1 support with experienced business advisers, who will help businesses put together a robust, bespoke business plan.

To book a place call the Chamber in Stoke:

Bespoke support for direct payment employers

Our website has a range of information about direct payments and where individuals can go to source support. This includes:

  • Skills for Care
  • HMRC
  • Department of Health
  • other key resources

Staffordshire Connects also has contact details for a number of organisations who offer support with recruitment and employment of personal assistants.

Business planning support

Chamber of Commerce business planning workshops

Stand-alone workshops available to businesses (also available on the business start-up programme).

These are free of charge and run in Stafford and Stoke. Chamber membership is not a condition for accessing these workshops. 

This support can be found in in South Staffordshire through the Business Enterprise support programme.

Growth Hub - Step up to growth workshops

Targeted at businesses operating between 6-12 months. Includes business planning and marketing support.

See the events calendar on the Growth Hub website.

Bid writing and tender support

Writing winning bids and tenders training. Available free of charge.

For further information on forthcoming training events contact:


Advertising on Staffordshire Connects

Social care providers can advertise their business on Staffordshire Connects which is a local searchable database of services, activities and support, including registered care services.

To add a listing, you will need to register for an account, using this create account link.

When your registration is complete, you can create a listing in the dashboard by:

  • clicking on ‘manage your listings’. You will see a heading ‘Adding and editing listings for Adults and Communities’
  • underneath this heading, you can click on the ‘create a new directory listing’ link which will open a new listing form
  • enter all your details into the form, save it and press submit. The form will then be sent to the Staffordshire Connects Team to be processed and made live within the website

Please note: all care organisations in Staffordshire registered by CQC to provide personal care services are listed on Staffordshire Connects website.


Keele University

Vacancy advertising service. Charges apply.

Care Market Development team adult social care recruitment resource

Support for those looking to work in care and those looking to fill vacancies across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Free resource. Requires site registration. 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The City Council is running ongoing recruitment campaigns and signposting candidates to the private sector organisations, based on candidates preferences and skills.

Currently the City Council is looking to launch a further recruitment round entitled 'There’s no such thing as just a care worker'.

When the next recruitment round goes live, contact details will be:

Workforce development

Care Market Development team training and development programme

You can get information by selecting the following options:

Training programmes are developed using intelligence of local market need and offered at competitive price to the industry.

The site also signposts to other key sources of information, advice and guidance to support best practice in the marketplace (e.g. to Skills for Care resources).

Requires site registration.

European Social Fund workforce upskilling programme (Chamber of Commerce & CIRCO (SERCO) partnership)

Includes basic skills training including:

  • literacy and numeracy
  • english for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
  • employment skills such as communication and team working
  • vocationally specific qualifications.

Intermediate and higher level skills training is also available for health and social care sector small and medium enterprises.

The courses, which can take place at the employees’ workplace, range from a few hours’ training, to units of NVQ or other qualifications (available up to level 4).

A £5.5 million funded programme offering training and development free of charge (until funding has been allocated), but only available until March 2019.

Further education or higher education courses in leadership and management

Available at a range of local institutions at a range of levels from single modules to postgraduate courses: 

Business mentoring support (Chamber of Commerce)

Approximately 150 mentors with extensive business experience are offering 12 hours mentoring free of change to businesses.

Further support is charged.

Business networking opportunities

Care Market Development team

Opportunities include:

  • managers quality network forum (biannual event)
  • registered managers’ forums (quarterly)

Housing LIN

Regional ‘learning lab’ events to include:

  • current sector issues
  • sector specific research and innovation
  • networking opportunities

Tax support

ACAS workshops to support with completing tax returns.

Professional membership

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber supports:

  • business promotion and networking
  • business growth and support
  • training and development (at reduced cost)
  • influence and action

Not care sector specific.

United Kingdom Homecare Association

Open to home care agencies in the independent, voluntary and statutory sectors offering or arranging home care, home nursing, housing support or domestic care on its own behalf and operating through one or more branches.

National Care Association

Representing providers from small individual care homes and domiciliary care providers to medium sized groups covering a range of diverse care needs.

Chamber of Commerce newsletter

Please note that we intend to provide an update of the Chamber of Commerce newsletter through the Care Market Development Team’s website.


Recognising good quality provision in Staffordshire: the dignity awards   Back to top

Our vision is that Staffordshire will be a place where everyone has the opportunity to prosper, be healthy and happy and to improve quality of life for all. In relation to care, this involves support being built around the person, with services of the highest quality, demonstrating respect, dignity and compassion.

To promote, recognise and reward those people whose actions make a difference and serve as an example to others, we host the dignity awards.

Dignity awards support a strong reputation for the local care workforce and care businesses.

They are available for:

  • care workers
  • carers
  • volunteers
  • young people
  • teams and organisations.

They include awards for:

  • dignity in leadership
  • supporting people to be active members of their local communities and through informal care provision
  • supporting a dignity champion role helping to shape the way local services are delivered.


Quality assurance support   Back to top

Staffordshire County Council

Our quality assurance team helps providers to understand what good looks like. As part of their standard quality assurance inspection processes (which is currently being integrated with the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ inspection processes), the action plan is being used to produce a bespoke set of resources for a provider.

This ‘resource directory’ is sent to the provider to help them deliver the action plan. It contains best practice guidance, signposting, templates and so on.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The City Council has recently restructured its commissioning and contracting functions to ensure that there is dedicated resource for quality assurance across all areas of service delivery.

The team schedules monitoring visits to care provider locations on a rolling programme, with increased involvement if there are concerns about the quality of service delivery.

The team also ensures that there are monitoring meetings with providers to discuss challenges and opportunities and look at offering guidance and support on service improvements.

Although the team is small they can be contacted openly by providers and they will seek to advise and offer support on areas of concern to ensure that quality is maintained and, where possible, improved.


Support for struggling or failing adult social care businesses   Back to top

Staffordshire County Council

Our quality assurance team is working proactively with our partners and providers when concerns are raised or when a provider is struggling to deliver the required improvements from their action plan. This includes a formal ‘quality improvement process’ for services identified as high risk.

By having a multiagency group working with the provider (including specialist NHS staff and Care Market Development team staff), we can collectively remove any blockages, offer guidance and help the provider focus on priority areas of risk.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The recent restructure of the City Council commissioning and contracting functions also enables the quality assurance team to become involved with organisations when there are issues with City Council providers.

The team can sign-post organisations towards effective social care management consultants, have the knowledge to sign-post organisations to appropriate training providers, monitor activity against bespoke performance action plans and give wider advice on how quality can be managed.


Further information   Back to top

Skills for care

Independent charity providing practical support to help leaders and managers recruit, develop, lead and retain their staff. It also provides individual tailored solutions to support businesses to deliver high quality care.

Staffordshire Association of Registered Care Providers (SARCP)

Membership based, providing independent sector representation (including care homes and home care agencies) and facilitating training courses for the sector.


Printable version   Back to top

If you wish to print out this information, please use the document below:

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