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Equal Care Co-op

What they do

Equal Care Co-op want to reshape the world of social care so that the relationship between the giver and the receiver of care and support is at the heart of everything. Its purpose is to transform existing power structures in social care by using technology and sociocratic ways of working. To achieve this they are setting up the UK’s first ever social care ‘platform co-operative’. This is an emerging form of digital organisation where the participators in digital markets are in control.

They are also introducing an alternative currency: Care Coins. Care coins can be used as a form of exchange to ‘buy’ support for yourself or to give to someone else.

Technology

Equal Care Co-op are developing technology that will enable participation and collaboration amongst the people giving and receiving care and support.

Sociocracy

Sociocracy is a new, socially responsible system of governance that allows people to give and receive effective leadership while remaining peers.

The Share Offer

Equal Care Co-op uses sociocracy to set up groups or ‘circles’ of people giving and receiving support using circle-based governance principles. The circles are semi-independent, have their own identity and are the main arena for co-ordinating and offering support in their area. Using the technology, the platform links them together and broadens the choices that people getting support have available to them.

Equal Care Co-op are raising money in 2019 for two main tasks:

  • To develop the technology that will empower care and support workers and those receiving care and support to have control. Care and support workers will be able to find the right people to work with and like-minded peers who will support each other. Those receiving support will be able to find the best person to give them that support as well as being fully involved in how and when that support is delivered. The technology will also remove costly layers of management as well as much paperwork and thus allow more of the fees to go to the workers.
  • To develop two pilot circles of support in Hebden Bridge and Blackshaw Head. The initial circles of people giving and receiving support set up in both locations need investment to continue their development. They will use the funding for recruitment and training of care and support workers and for the governance and leadership of the circles. The share offer will help these circles to grow, enabling about 30 people to be supported in Hebden Bridge and 20 in Blackshaw Head, and create seeds for new circles to start. The funding will also be used to support the newly independent care and support workers with legal and administrative advice. It will also cover regulatory costs as we apply to the Care Quality Commission to be a support provider and employ a Registered Manager.

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