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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister