Norfolk Care Association Interim Board - progress report

Establishing a Care Association for Norfolk

Since July 2018, the provider-led Executive Steering Group of ‘Shaping a Care Association for Norfolk’ has overseen a consultation process with three main stages:

Stage 1: Desktop research into how other Care Associations work: 17 Care Associations including nine telephone interviews

Stage 2: A series of consultation workshops held across Norfolk in October 2018: 78 participants attended

Stage 3: An online survey seeking provider views on the purpose, benefit and structure of a Care Association which ran from 17 December 2018 to 8 February 2019: 154 responses

The consultation was designed in partnership with the University of East Anglia and the University of Suffolk and has been facilitated by Market Connectors all of whom work in the social care sector.

Taken together the different strands of the consultation had good reach across different groups of social care providers. You can see a copy of the final report on our consultation website at:
Some headlines are given below:

Research findings

You told us you were positive about having a Care Association for Norfolk, but that it must be independent, solution-oriented, inclusive, collaborative and transparent.

You were clear that your biggest challenges for the day-to-day organisation of care services were around staffing, both paid and voluntary:

  • Recruitment, especially qualified staff in rural areas
  • Sickness, and 
  • Keeping good staff

Maintaining high-quality services is challenged by shortfalls in funding, fees and time issues. Many of you said you often feel unsupported and struggle to communicate with large organisations.

You thought the most important role for a Care Association was as a voice for the sector with both local commissioners and nationally.

You wanted greater influence on:

  • Discussions on the cost of care with all commissioners (health and local authority)
  • New policies and guidance; and 
  • Standardising systems and procedures that affected providers

You were also interested in a Care Association that provided a forum for managers and owners to meet and share good practice and was a trusted first port of call for information and advice.

How a Care Association might be paid for was more contentious. Many of you questioned whether a Care Association could be independent if it was funded by commissioners. Others felt that there was an obligation in the Care Act (2014) for the local authority to maintain a diverse and vibrant social care provider market and investing in a Care Association was one way to help achieve this.
This ambivalence was reflected in the responses to our survey question as to whether a Care Association should receive core funding from health and social care commissioners. 53.1% were in favour (strongly agree and agree), 17.2% not in favour and 29.7% undecided.


Following lengthy discussion, the Executive Steering Group agreed:

1. There was considerable support for a Care Association in Norfolk (the most popular choice of name being Norfolk Care Association) and so we should now move ahead with implementation. It was recognised that the Care Association will evolve over time and that we should build in flexibility to allow for these changes

2. An Interim Board will be established consisting of social care providers and organisations providing services to providers

In the first instance the Interim Board will consist of:

  • Norfolk Independent Care (NIC) – Sanjay Kaushal
  • Association Representing Mental Health Care (ARMC) – Michael Millage
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support Ltd (N&SCS) – Christine Futter
  • Community Action Norfolk (CAN) – Jonathan Clemo
  • Voluntary Norfolk (VN) – Kevin Vaughan

These organisations represented the sector on the Executive Steering Group overseeing the original consultation. Others may be co-opted on to the Interim Board to ensure full representation of all provider groups.

The Interim Board will be supported by independent consultant, Dr Fiona Denny, until a full time Care Association Officer is appointed. Dr Denny led on the consultation project and can be contacted at

3. The Norfolk Care Association will be a Company Limited by Guarantee. This means it will have a legal entity but no shareholders with all funding/income directed towards achieving the Care Association’s aims. 

Membership of the Norfolk Care Association will be open to any provider operating in the Norfolk and Waveney area.

4. The Interim Board will seek grant funding from Norfolk County Council (NCC) to establish the Care Association. NCC has stated that once the Norfolk Care Association (NCA) is established it will be regarded as the key representative body for the sector. All future NCC commissioning of major services will include consultation with the Norfolk Care Association and the NCA will be asked to field people for discussions on issues like fee rates and commissioning new services. NCC accepts that this engagement role will need to be funded.

The Executive Steering Group has now concluded its task of overseeing the consultation exercise. We would like to thank the many people who contributed to the consultation by attendance at the workshops in October 2018, participation in the online survey or in the many off-line discussions that have been held with our Market Connectors and members of the Executive Steering Group. Your views have, and will continue to, help build the new Norfolk Care Association.

Executive Steering Group: Shaping a Care Association for Norfolk

  • Association Representing Mental health Care (ARMC) 
  • Community Action Norfolk (CAN) 
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support Ltd (N&SCS) 
  • Norfolk County Council (NCC) 
  • Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust (NCH&C)
  • Norfolk Continuing Care Partnership (NCCP) 
  • Norfolk Independent Care (NIC) 
  • Norfolk Older People’s Strategic Partnership 
  • Voluntary Norfolk