Issue details

21/00106 - Development of a micro-provider market in Kent

Proposed decision:

To award a contract to a provider who can support the development of micro-providers in Kent and delegate authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health to take relevant actions, including but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.


Reason for the decision: 

Adult social care and health is seeking to develop a micro-provider market in Kent.


As part of Making a Difference Everyday approach, this market will support the development of resilient communities by increasing the type of local, community-based activities that support adults to maintain their wellbeing and independence. This market can also alleviate market pressures within the Care and Support market in the longer term by delivering non-regulated care. Micro-providers are especially useful in developing services to fill niche service gaps that are unattractive to larger organisations due to lack of scale, operating at a very local level and can also be used to fill gaps in geographic provision, especially in rural areas.


This is a new approach in Kent and will support a diversification of the community-based care and support market, enabling greater choice for people in the type of care and support available to them.   


To support Kent to achieve this ambition, we are seeking to commission an external provider who is experienced in developing a care related micro-provider market. The focus of the contract will be:

·         to undertake an analysis of gaps and opportunities to form an action plan. 

·         Identifying, training and developing micro-providers

·         Developing a robust quality assurance process and register for approved providers

·         Undertaking a full impact assessment to recognise the benefits of the approach

·         Developing a plan for the longer-term sustainability of the approach


The proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’ by ensuring that older and vulnerable residents are safe and supported with choices to live independently. Specifically, 


  •  Those with long-term conditions are supported to manage their conditions through access to good quality care and support
  • Older and vulnerable residents feel socially included
  • More people receive quality care at home avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital and care homes
  • The health and social care system works together to deliver high quality community services
  • Residents have greater choice and control over the health and social care services they receive


Ensuring that people have access to flexible, creative and tailor-made care and support is a key outcome of the Making a Difference Everyday approach. The development of a micro provider market is a key enabler in developing that approach. 


The financial profile is outlined below:



Year 1

Year 2




Alternative funding


Jan – Mar 22

April 22 – Dec 22

Jan – Dec 2023

Seed funding





Marketing budget





Contract costs





Sub - Total







Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 18/11/2021

Decision due: Not before 26th Nov 2021 by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead director: Richard Smith

Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing

Contact: Samantha Sheppard, Senior Commissioner Email:


The proposed decision will be discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee meeting on 1 December 2021.


Financial implications: £940,000 Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) has been sought and agreed for this project. Due to the requirements that this funding is spent by 31 March 2022, the project and associated contract will be funded by COMF until that date. There are several potential funding streams that are being explored to meet the remainder of the costs, including those recently announced as part of the Spending Review. The market sustainability fund is also available to fund these initiatives. The financial profile is outlined in the 'Reason for the Decision' section. To summarise, the development of micro-providers in Kent has total project cost of £902,000. The contract value is £633,000.

Legal implications: Legal advice is being sought to ensure that the existing terms and conditions for adult social care contracted services is adequate in relation to this new approach. We will also establish a register of approved providers with agreed checks, terms and conditions and monitoring process to ensure quality.

Equalities implications: A full Equalities Impact Assessment has been completed. Key finding is the positive impact related to ability of micro-enterprises to respond to demand at a local level. This means greater flexibility for people in terms of the community and home-based care and support they have access to. It also means that barriers some groups experience in accessing mainstream, traditional services can be addressed by developing activities and services that specifically meet their needs. Key issue identified was how people are made aware of these services with a key risk being dependence on digital platforms to raise awareness and therefore information being inaccessible to people who are digitally excluded. Mitigating action is to raise awareness with social workers and signposting professionals, such as Community navigators, who can talk to people about the micro-provider provision in their local area.


Agenda items