Provincial Care Service Agency

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Provincial Care Service Agency'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 Provincial Care Service Agency 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

Registered Manager Angela
Angela with Monica Byrne,
one of the founders of
Provincial Care
Devolution of powers away from Whitehall and Westminster
has been a subject of much discussion in recent times,
particularly in light of Brexit. Belfast-based Provincial Care,
a domiciliary care provider, believe their predicament serves as
a case study for the necessity of a government that is closer
to home. The geography and demography of their area places
them in a unique position that doesn’t lend itself to blanket
solutions. This is why Angela McKeever, Provincial Care’s
Registered Manager, focuses heavily on providing solutions
tailored to each individual person. This is a model that began
with their founders, Monica Byrne and Imelda McGrady, and
has brought the company to a point where they now have 180
employees. Angela tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about
what this undertaking consists of.
The DNA of our company
Provincial Care Services Agency Limited was established in 1992 by Monica Byrne
and Imelda McGrady. Both ladies had been employed at senior levels within the
NHS in tutorial capacities, and could see that most patients in long-stay wards
could, with an element of care included, have their care managed in their home
environment, on their own terms and with an element of independence. The
partners recognised this deficiency in the care sector, particularly within the elderly
age group, and so PCSA initiated a small pilot scheme. This scheme was set up with
»Registered Manager:
»Established in 1992
»Based in Belfast, with services
in the Belfast Trust, the
Southern Trust and the South
Eastern Trust, Northern Ireland
»Services: Domiciliary care
»No. of employees: 180
Provincial Care
Services Agency
Highlighting best practice
an ideal situation in mind: a particular
number of service users looked after
by a group of carers. What was not
initially taken into account was that,
among other things, some service users
passed away and carers took sick leave
and maternity leave, meaning that the
pilot was continually changing.
Since then, we have striven relentlessly
and adapted as an agency to maintain
an excellent reputation by extending
first-class quality care to those in our
community. It’s a goal that we’ve
never compromised on and that we
always keep strongly in mind. In fact,
this sector in Northern Ireland has no
input or voice to quantify what the
true cost of an hour’s care can be,
so we are continually lobbying for a
realistic rate in order to remunerate
our workers, as they feel undervalued
throughout this sector. We, however,
believe that a holistic attitude towards
care, in addition to intelligent use
of resources, can bring a genuinely
excellent service at a reasonable cost.
Our service offering contains the
following provisions:
»First-class care while respecting the
client’s independence and privacy
»Ensuring the training of all staff is of
the highest quality
»Carefully selected care workers to
ensure that appropriate attention is
»Assured flexibility of services as the
care requirements change
»Regular review of service provision
»Regular opportunity for client
»Liaison, if required, with other
healthcare professionals, including
GPs,social workers, community
nurses and day hospitals, among
In the early days, because of where
our services were located, we could
travel long distances from one service
user to another – “going the extra
mile” was, in many cases, a drastic
understatement. Eventually, we were
approached by a trust, who offered us
the prospect of catering to clients who
were located in urban areas. While we
were keen to retain the rural element
of our services, we made the decision
to expand into the unknown.
Difficulties along the way
Recruitment in this industry is not a
walk in the park, as it’s an occupation
that’s not always well remunerated
or rewarded, and it can involve our
carers facing challenging situations
on a daily basis. Across the sector, the
remuneration isn’t good enough, and
very often it is even poorer than the
pay you’d receive in a regular retail job,
as this work is often seen as menial.
To be in this industry, therefore, you
have to possess a sincere desire to
help people. If you do not possess this
core trait, the job will not work out
for you, as the negatives will quickly
outweigh the positives. In other words,
you have to love the job; you have to
possess a passion for the job. These
traits are, quite understandably, not
in everyone’s nature, which means
that the recruitment stage requires
a considerable degree of scrutiny,
Best Home Care Agency
winners of 2018
We are
lobbying for a
realistic rate in
order to
our workers,
as they feel
this sector
including police checks and reference
checks prior to a job offer. These
procedures can take several weeks to
finalise, by which time the potential
carer might have decided to take a job
in a different sector.
What’s more, there is no obvious
career route for those who do work
in the industry. For many, it can feel
like there is a lot of hard, physical,
heart-rending work, with no room
for progression and no prospect of
gaining formal qualifications. What’s
desperately needed in this sector is a
greater recognition of the work these
carers do, as well as a way for them to
get onto the career ladder. As far as
I’m concerned, many of our employees
could make excellent nurses, but
because they have not taken the
standard academic route, they are
locked into a dead end. The fact that
these hard-working individuals do not
currently receive sufficient recognition
is something that society ought to
recognise and reflect on.
To help solve this problem, the
government could think about
allowing a sort of conversion course
(perhaps equivalent to an access
course) that would not necessarily
bring them out of the domiciliary
care sector, as currently happens, but
would allow them to proceed into
another healthcare profession, such
as nursing or social work. On top of
this, Northern Ireland is not receiving
the necessary funds that take account
of the specific needs of this part of
the UK. This is a clear indication that
a devolution of powers is necessary.
Our exit from the European Union,
and the corresponding repatriation of
powers, could very well be the prime
opportunity for this to occur. Only a
government that is in close proximity
to the problems will have a sufficient
grasp of the detail.
Nevertheless, we will always remain
committed not to profit or to
utilitarian efficiency, but to care – care
that’s individualised, professional,
safe, compassionate, effective and
takes into account the needs of the
whole person. It is our duty and
commitment to centre everything we
do around our service users’ well-
being. This, ultimately, is what the
Ireland is not
receiving the
funds that
take account
of the specific
needs of this
part of the UK
We provide care
that’s individualised,
professional, safe,
compassionate and

This article was sponsored by Provincial Care Service Agency. 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