Your business framework
There are a range of other areas that you will need to consider when developing your business plan, in order that your business has a firm and strong framework from which to operate. You may need to consider the following.
In order to deliver your support service it is very likely that you will need to recruit, train and develop a staff team. In many cases the staff you employ will be your "front line" staff dealing directly with your customers and you will need them to provide high levels of quality support and customer satisfaction.
However ensuring that you have the right management team, with a breadth of skills and experiences, is also vitally important. You will also need to consider what administrative and other professional staff (Human Resources, finance, legal) you may need to run the support service. You may have to consider outsourcing these professional roles initially.
You should add the details of all your managers to your Business Plan, including their experiences and skills. Also you may wish to provide job descriptions and person specifications for key roles.
Before recruiting staff you need to be absolutely clear about what is the product that you want to deliver as this will define the tasks, roles and responsibilities of the staff you employ. It is then essential that you recruit staff who have the necessary skills to fill those roles and that you then provide adequate support and training to allow them to do their job effectively and efficiently.
However there are a number of websites that will provide template job descriptions and person specifications and provide templates for contracts of employment.
Employing someone is difficult but dealing with a situation where you are having to dismiss staff is even more difficult, so ensure that you take sufficient professional advice at the beginning to ensure that all your staff policies (recruitment, probation, appraisal, professional and personal development and grievance / dismissal) meet all statutory requirements and are legally sound.
In addition to policies and procedures you will want to develop a workforce with the right social care and other required skills to enable you to deliver your product.
To support you and your organisation you may also wish to consider who will be your professional advisors. You may need to ensure that your organisation has, or has access to, professional accounting and legal support. You may also need to consider if you require specialist advisors, for example IT professionals or Health and Safety professionals.
When thinking about your staff, you may want to think about:
What change management / organisation development tools / skills will you need?
What will be your management and staffing structure?
What are the skills and competencies that you are looking for in your managers and staff?
Where will you get your managers and staff from - how will you recruit them?
Do you have the right managers and staff available now if you are already trading - have you conducted a skills audit?
What training do your managers and staff need and how will you provide it?
How will you develop your managers and staff into a team?
Are you going to use volunteers?
Do you have robust Human Resources processes, including advertising, recruiting, professional development/training?
Do you have the necessary grievance and disciplinary procedures and policies in place?
Do you have 'legally' enforceable contracts of employment - have you taken formal legal advice on this?
What regulation will you need to meet - Employers Liability insurance, Health and Safety, minimum wage, statutory payments, holidays, pension requirements and others?
What skills / expertise might you wish to be provided by external advisors / professionals rather than by employing people?
The information on this page is only intended to be an overview of employing people. You should always take legal advice and advice from an employment specialist about employing people.
There are a range of different organisational types for you to consider. A rough guide to the legal structures most commonly associated with organisations is attached.
Different_legal_structures.doc (Word 45Kb)
For more general information about business structures, including other options such as partnerships and limited liability partnerships, you may want to visit Business Link - Business structures
Hampshire County Council are particularly keen to support the development of Social Enterprises either as stand alone organisations or as part of existing third sector organisations. A social enterprise is a socially and/or environmentally driven organisation, run as businesses, but driven by the need to benefit a community or the environment and not the need to maximise shareholder return. If you would like further information on how Hampshire County Council is supporting Social Enterprises then please contact Mark Allen at Hampshire County Council, Adult Services.
When thinking about your organisation structure, you may want to think about:
How much control do I want to keep over the running of the organisation?
Do I want to reduce my liabilities if anything goes wrong?
Do I understand the tax implications relating to my organisation structure - both for myself and for the organisation?
Am I likely to want to look for 'charitable' grant or external funding?
How many people am I starting this business with?
Do I want to reinvest my surpluses into local community or other 'good' causes?
Does the structure of my organisation support my vision, aims and values?
The information on this page is only intended to be an overview of legal structures. You should always seek legal and financial advice when deciding on the structure of your organisation.
Regulations / safeguarding
There will be a range of regulations that you will need to consider, but these can broadly be separated into two main areas, they are those that relate to running certain types of care services and those that relate to running organisations - both business regulation and more genera
Often people who need care and support have to trust everyone that they rely on for help. We know that abuse happens and that it takes many forms, including bullying and harassment. which can be either physical or mental, and might be carried out by any one of a range of people. Vulnerable people need to be protected from being abused.
Care services regulation
The Care Quality Commission provide information on relevant Acts, Regulations, National minimum standards, guidance and good practice that relates to running a care service. The regulations cover things like·registration, fees, basic requirements of what you have to do to run a service and other more service-specific requirements. There are minimum standards for certain types of service.
Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) - Vetting and barring scheme
The Independent Safeguarding Authority Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) aims to improve the existing arrangements that are in place to stop unsuitable people from working, or seeking to work with children or vulnerable adults and strengthens the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and List 99 checking processes.
The Vetting and Barring Schemes has come about as a result of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act. The Act requires people who work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It also covers people who have access to data ,specifically that relating to social care, education or health records.
Organisations who trade and employ people have to meet certain legal requirements and other regulation. This will mean that when setting up or developing your social care support service you will need to consider a whole range of different laws, regulations and guidance.
Amongst others you will need to think about Health and Safety regulation, Employment regulation, Tax and financial regulation, and Data Protection legislation.
In addition, for certain types of support service, for example food businesses and some leisure activities there may be other specialist requirements.
If you start to trade with individuals, or consumers, directly, whether funded by Adult Services or through their own resources, there is also consumer protection legislation and regulation that you will need to consider. You may wish to contact your local Trading Standards Office who can provide business related consumer advice.
When trading, including if you employ people, you must treat all people in the same way, no matter what their personal characteristics (race, religion etc) and comply with human rights and equality legislation.
You will also need to ensure that you meet any environmental legislation and try to develop your support service in the most environmentally sustainable and also socially sustainable way.
When thinking about what law and regulation you may need to consider, you may want to think about:
What are the laws and regulation that covers the delivery of my product?
Will delivering my product involve any other people, either customers or staff, and if so, what do I need to do?
How do I ensure that my customers and other people I am involved with are not abused?
How do I ensure that I keep my customers and other vulnerable people safe?
How do I ensure that I treat all people the same?
Where will I get professional and legal advice from?
The information on this page is only intended to be an overview of all the different laws and regulations you may need to consider. You should always take formal legal, professional and specialist advice when developing social care support services.
Premises and equipment
You will need a property that is able to accommodate you and allow for a little expansion whilst at the same time being as small as possible to reduce premises related costs. In addition you will need it to be close to your chosen market to cut down on travelling time for either your staff or for your customers.
Your property will need to be fit for purpose and will need to meet all health and safety requirements for your staff and for your customers. There are other property related legal considerations , for example when buying or renting including insurances, planning permissions and others, and others once you are in your premises, for example Health and Safety, accessibility and facilities.
When you have found your premises you will then need to equip it in order that you can deliver your service. Consider what office furniture, telecoms (phone / mobile / fax), IT (computers / laptops) you need. Also consider what 'specialist' equipment you may need that will allow you to start providing a service.
When looking at equipment consider what needs to be bought new (you may feel that 'customer' facing equipment should be new) and what previously used equipment you may be able to utilise. Be strict with yourself and only purchase equipment that you actually require.
Also think about how you will buy the equipment, whether you wish to lease it or buy it outright through a loan or your own capital. There may be tax and other financial benefits in the way you buy your equipment so take professional advice. Also start to think about how you will replace the equipment as it becomes older or obsolete - both in how you will pay for it and what impact a change in equipment may have on your business.
When thinking about your premises and equipment, you may want to think about:
What are the key things you need to have at your premises?
Is location more important than content / facilities - what compromises are you prepared to make?
Do you need professional support and guidance when looking at premises?
Will you lease or buy your premises?
What are the key pieces of equipment you need to deliver your product?
What will you buy - new or old equipment, or a mix?
How will you buy - outright or lease, or a mix?
How will you provide and fund repairs and maintenance of your premises and equipment?
What regulations must you meet for both your premises and equipment?
How will you keep your premises and equipment safe (consider for example electric Portable Appliance Testing)?
How will you protect your premises and or equipment from damage, theft, fire or any other event?
The information on this page is only intended to be an overview of business premises and equipment. You should always take legal advice and advice from a premises and other specialists whenever you are considering property matters.
As well as the necessary procedures and policies (for example safeguarding, health and safety) that all organisations will require to support the delivery of their support service, you will also have to consider what "business" systems you will need. You will need to decide what it is you will need to monitor and then develop a system to allow you to monitor. As each business will be different, each business will wish to monitor different things but you may wish to consider three general areas.
This will particularly include reviewing / setting up your financial systems to ensure that you are ready for individualised invoicing and payments as Adult Social Care clients, rather than Adult Services themselves become your customers.
You will also need to establish how you record management and financial accounting data. Financial accounts are required to monitor your day to day financial performance, whereas management accounts are used to review and analyse your financial figures and performance to help you make longer term decisions.
Linked to this you may need to develop systems that allow you to track what products customers are buying. For a 'individualised' product you will need to consider how you record which customers are getting what products and the volume of product (care) they are receiving. If a 'bulk' product you may wish to record information about who is buying and where they are buying to help you with your marketing strategy.
You will also need to think about your Information and communications systems, both hardware (the physical kit) and software (the programmes that run on your hardware) and whether they are robust enough to support you as your organisation develops.
You will also need to have some form of personnel records if you start to employ staff. You may also wish to track who is providing what service product where and for how long in order that you can monitor staff performance.
When thinking about the systems that you may need, you may want to think about:
What do I feel it is important to monitor and how will I do it?
What do I need to learn today, that will help me with the future and how can I ensure that I learn and record it?
How will I ensure that I get paid and that I pay people on time?
How can I understand what is happening to my money and ensure that I have enough of it?
How will I keep track on what products and services people are receiving?
How will I know if a product is popular or is not popular?
How will I be able to tell what marketing is working and what marketing I may need to do?
What recording equipment do I need?
How do I keep track of my staff performance?
How do I ensure I am paying my staff the right amount at the right time?
The information on this page is only intended to be an overview of management and information systems. You should always take legal advice and advice from specialists whenever you are considering developing or installing management and information systems.
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