Micro-enterprises: care and support on a scale that’s 'just right'?

Date 20 August 2015

Presenter: Dr Catherine Needham

Dr Needham from the University of Birmingham, UK, will share findings from a recent research into very small providers of care and support for older people and people with disabilities.


Micro-providers of care and support, employing five members of staff or fewer, have been proliferating within English social care.

Research led by a research team from Birmingham University compared micro-providers with small, medium and large care providers in three areas of England. The study found that micro-enterprises can deliver more personalised, innovative and valued support for a similar or lower cost than larger providers.

Often lacking the local government contracts and promotional resources of larger organisations, micro-enterprises market themselves through word-of-mouth and local networks. More individualised commissioning, including higher take-up of individualised funding schemes, will be needed if micro-enterprises are to flourish. 

Dr Catherine Needham is a Reader in Public Policy and Public Management at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham.

Her areas of special interest include: reform of public services through coproduction and personalisation; social care services; individualised budgets within public services; and public sector workforce reform. She has published a wide range of articles, chapters and books for academic and practitioner audiences, many of them focused on social care and individualised funding schemes. Her most recent book was published by the Policy Press in 2014 entitled, Debates in Personalisation.

Her current projects include an evaluation of micro-enterprises in social care and a Knowledge Exchange project on the Twenty-First Century Public Servant in partnership with Birmingham City Council. She tweets as @DrCNeedham

Download Dr Needham's presentation » (PDF File, 8.4 MB)


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