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Adult social care – Provider types

Care providers run a range of services. Some of the larger organisations may run a combination of home care or residential care services.

These ‘pen portraits’ give a snapshot of a typical service. 

Some individuals also employ personal assistants directly using a personal budget from health or social care or their own money. It is estimated that there are around 145,000 personal assistants employed directly by individuals or families.

Care home§

Care homes provide care in a residential setting. Some offer nursing services, and some are care homes without nursing care.

Care homes typically:

  • are based in converted buildings, such as a former vicarage, with maybe a small extension
  • operate from just one location - so they do not own or manage a group of homes
  • are owner managed - so the owner also manages care home
  • employ around 35 full-time equivalent roles. Many roles are part-time so they will in fact, employ more staff
  • have around 40 beds
  • operate at around 88 per cent occupancy (meaning on average 88 per cent of beds are filled and not available for others)
  • cost around £749 per week for self-funders. Local authorities pay an average of £555 per week for the residents who are eligible for local authority funding.

Places in care homes are funded through in different ways. Typically a care home might have:

  • 41% self-funders (i.e. people who fund their own care, or whose family funds their care)
  • 45% local authority funded
  • 15% local authority funded with top-up

Home care providers§

Home care providers, or domiciliary care providers, provide care – including nursing care – in people’s own homes. Home care providers can be independent service, or franchised. They are typically owner managed, and can operate nationally or at regional level. They receive funding from local authority and private fee payers.

A typical home care service will have:

  • 1 to 100+ registered CQC locations
  • 40+ staff per location 
  • 600 to 3,500+ hours of care per location per week
  • 50+ customers per location

Retirement communities§

Retirement communities may also be referred to as: retirement villages, extra care housing, housing with care, assisted living, close care apartments, or independent living. It includes housing with care for older people who buy or part-buy their apartments, and housing with care including affordable rent. Housing with care schemes provide homes to people aged 55 and over, who require extra care and whose current homes no longer meet their needs.

Retirement communities are run by national, smaller regional and local providers. These organisations may be private sector, registered/housing associations or not-for-profit providers.

A typical retirement community will have:

  • 1-15 registered CQC locations
  • 10-45 staff per location
  • 1-20+ hours of care per location per week
  • 40+ customers per location

Retirement communities receive funding through a combination of state funding and private funding. Homes are offered as private, affordable rent and/or mixed tenure.

Shared Lives schemes§

Shared Lives schemes make up 0.85% of social care provision. 

Shared Lives carers share their family and community life with adults who need some support to live independently, including disabled adults, older people with dementia, people with mental health problems, and others.  Homeshare matches those who need some companionship or a little help to carry on living in their own home, with someone who is willing to give a little help and needs accommodation.  Micro-enterprises are very small community services, offering activities, transport, hot meals, advocacy or home help.

97% of Shared Lives schemes are rated Good or Outstanding by the regulator, Care Quality Commission.

There are 10,000 Shared Lives carers in England: 30% male, 70% female

Each Shared Live scheme supports around 90 people and employs around 7 people per scheme

All schemes funded by local authority

68% of Shared Lives schemes are managed by the local authority and 32% are independently managed

Fees range from £391 to £487 per week


infographic of Social Care Provider Types