Bluebird Care

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bluebird Care's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bluebird Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.bluebirdcare.co.uk

15BLUEBIRD CARE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Managing Director YvonneHignell
Quality is at the heart
of our service
Most companies would like to say that their main
differentiator is quality, but only a few companies can
legitimately claim this is the case. Bluebird Care, a
homecare services company, is among those select few. Up and
down the country, their outstanding domiciliary care services
regularly achieve high CQC ratings. The success of their model has
led to them having 200 businesses across the UK and the Republic
of Ireland, employing around 20,000 people. The company was
started in 2004 and was franchised shortly after. The company
does, however, have a number of issues they’d like to raise at a
political level, which are just a few of the topics that Managing
Director Yvonne Hignell tells
The Parliamentary Review
about.
We are a nationwide provider of homecare (otherwise known as domiciliary care) –
an increasingly important component of modern society, especially as the UK faces
an ageing population and its attendant effects on the NHS. The services we provide
range from tailored visits of half an hour to permanent live-in support. Despite only
starting in 2004, we now operate in over 200 locations throughout the UK and the
Republic of Ireland. In practice, this means that, on average, we are responsible for
nearly eight million care visits at home per year and see over 9,500 customers using
our services every day.
Humble origins, a meteoric rise
The company began in Petersfield and was founded by husband and wife Paul and
Lisa Tarsey. Their goal was to revolutionise homecare and the way it was delivered.
FACTS ABOUT
BLUEBIRD CARE
»Managing Director:
YvonneHignell
»Established in 2004
»Based in Petersfield,
Hampshire
»Services: Domiciliary care
»No. of employees: 20,000
across 200 franchises
Bluebird Care
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | BLUEBIRD CARE
They did so by creating a superb
franchising model that could be
replicated and performed at scale.
This approach succeeded and has
resulted in our company achieving 96
per cent compliance – an exceptional
feat. Furthermore, ten per cent of our
businesses have an “outstanding”
CQC rating, and a further five per cent
have at least one CQC area (out of
five) that is “outstanding”. In market
reports, we regularly feature in the top
3-5 providers of domiciliary care.
This success has occurred because
we have a sincere commitment to
providing nothing less than the
highest-quality care and customer
service. It’s hard to say this without
sounding glib, but customers really
are at the heart of everything we do.
Providing individualised care plans
tailored for every one of our customers
is not easy to do at such a scale, but
we’ve nevertheless succeeded in
doingthis.
Eventually, in 2014, the business
attracted enough interest that the
founding couple sold it to a private
equity firm, Levine Leichtman Capital
Partners, under the franchisor Caring
Brands. This move has yielded Bluebird
Care a considerable deal ofsuccess.
Issues we want to get across
Currently, one of the most important
issues facing the care industry is the
lack of regulation of self-employed
individuals. Such people can enter
the industry without undergoing any
particularly demanding certification
process. This can, and often does,
result in poor care or even outright
neglect. This is damaging not only
to society’s most vulnerable but also
to the industry’s reputation more
generally. This reputational damage
is especially unwelcome in current
circumstances, as care at home is an
increasingly necessary service in an
ageing society such as the UK. It’s
therefore necessary for legislation that
protects against this state of affairs. I
feel strongly about the issue and will
continue to campaign to thisend.
Austerity too is having predictable
effects on society’s most vulnerable.
The funds available to local
government and personal budgets are
facing increasingly severe constraints,
which results in fewer people being
able to afford care. This then leads
to the use of the aforementioned
self-employed domiciliary carers
without sufficient qualifications or
statutoryoversight.
Recruitment and retention are another
difficult aspect of our business. The
care profession suffers from too little
A caring and considered
approach
Providing a personal
service every day
Currently, one
of the most
important
issues facing
the care
industry is the
lack of
regulation of
self-employed
individuals
17BLUEBIRD CARE |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
esteem, which is a grossly unfair
situation, given how highly demanding
and hugely important these jobs are.
Routes into the industry need to be
more formalised and promoted at the
highest levels, and the stigma that
currently surrounds it needs to be
removed, as too many see this as a
non-viable career route. If nothing is
done to remedy this, we can expect
no improvement of the situation
concerning recruitment and retention.
Moreover, Britain’s due exit from the
EU will do little to help this aspect
of the industry. It is not yet clear
whether or not, subsequent to Brexit,
we will be denied access to the huge
pool of talented and motivated care
workers that we currently enjoy – a
pool of talent from which the UK has
benefited hugely over the years.
Where things are headed
As mentioned earlier in the article, the
demand for services of the sort that
we provide will only increase as the
average age of Britain increases. This
increase in age – and, by extension, the
amount of care required – is outpacing
NHS capacity increases. Care at home
will therefore play a crucial role in
attenuating the coming difficulties.
At Bluebird Care, we want to be at
the fore of improving this young but
maturing industry. This will involve,
among other things, bringing greater
esteem to the industry and removing
the chasm that currently exists
between the NHS and domiciliary care.
However, we cannot do this alone;
it requires a long-term governmental
effort, too.
Despite the problems currently facing
the industry, we have faith in its
long-term trajectory – if nothing else,
because necessity demands it of us.
These issues will only become more
prominent as time goes on, and – as
a market-leading company – we will
place ourselves on the front line of
thisdebate.
The demand
for services of
the sort that
we provide
will only
increase as the
average age
of Britain
increases
Humble origins, a
meteoric rise

www.bluebirdcare.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Bluebird Care. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy