Distinguishing Between Introductory Agencies and Managed Care Providers

When the time comes to choose a care provider for yourself or your loved one, it can seem quite an ominous task especially if you haven’t had anything to do with care providers previously.  So, I wanted to break this down to help you make a safe and educated decision when it comes to choosing a care provider. 

There are 2 types of care providers 1. an introductory care agency and 2. a managed care provider.  They both provide care but there are significant differences as to how they do this.  Let me explain this further for you: 


  1. Introductory Care Agencies 

An introductory care agency like ourselves, Friends Helping at Home, ensures that the client is in full control of their care.  When a prospective client meets with the branch manager for the first time, they clarify the care and support requirements of the client in order to match their needs to the right registered service provider(s).  The client chooses their service provider from those that the agency has matched to the client’s requirements and who they have been personally introduced to.  All care tasks are agreed between the client and the service provider as well as the times that the service provider will visit the client and a contract between the two parties is signed.  This results in the client having familiar, regular service providers supporting them with their specific care needs at the times that they want which in turn builds trust between the parties involved.   


Further, all service providers are self-employed and will have gone through a rigorous registration process where they must submit their CVs, have their references checked, their enhanced DBS checked (a search to ensure that the service providers are safe to work with adults/children) and insurances checked. This is also an opportunity to share their training and experiences with us before they are matched and introduced to any clients based on their knowledge and experience as well as character and interests.   


The service provider is accountable to the client which means that any reviews and changes to the care package is done directly with the service provider and the client together and gives both parties far more autonomy with any changes being done immediately or as soon as those changes are required.  The client remains in control of their care package at all times including arranging cover for service provider absences either with other service providers who have been introduced already or through asking the branch to introduce new service providers to cover those absences.  The service providers can choose what training they want to do in order to support their clients and where they would like to do that training in order to ensure that the type of training matches their client’s needs as well as their own learning style.  Invoicing is done by the service provider through a 3rd party specialist company directly to the client. 


When a self-employed service provider registers with an introductory agency, they are paid more than if they are employed by a managed care provider as the agency takes a smaller share because there are less overheads with introductory care agencies.   


Importantly, support is given to both the client and the service provider under CQC’s Introductory Agency criteria.  


  1. Managed Care Providers 

With a managed care provider, the care provider manages the client’s care package.  The branch manager will visit the client and a care plan is written where the care tasks are agreed before the care package starts and cannot be deviated from.  This is provided to the service providers and they must follow this when they visit the client.  The care package, however, is managed by the company and not by the service providers who visit the client although they can contact the branch to express any changes to the care that is provided but the branch will visit the client to amend the care plan before the service providers can change the care that is provided.  The client and the service providers will receive a weekly visit schedule from the care provider so that they know how their visits have been planned for the week.  There will be different service providers visiting the client and it will be the care provider who chooses the service providers for each client and at what time they will visit.  This is a more rigid and set style of working in providing care. 

All invoicing is through the managed care provider themselves and because of the size of the office staff and requirement for premises and other outgoings the service providers receive a lower pay and the agency take a greater share.  All service providers are employed by the care provider who manage their training, their hours, the rotas, spot checks and supervisions.  There is little autonomy for the service providers to use their skills and knowledge within a managed care provider service.    

In brief, the managed care provider is responsible for creating, supervising and managing all the care packages for their clients and are also responsible for providing employed service providers as well as covering service provider absences. 

Managed care providers are fully regulated and accountable to the CQC. 


No difference 

Where introductory agencies and managed care providers are the same is through the recruitment/registration process for the service providers assuring you that you will always receive safe, good quality service providers.   

They both follow CQC guidelines and it is a requirement that a contract is signed between the client and company for both. 


In conclusion, we have explored the distinctive characteristics of introductory care agencies and managed care agencies. As you weigh these options, it’s important to consider your unique needs and preferences. Ultimately, the choice of care style rests with you. I trust that this article has provided valuable insights to guide you in making an informed decision that aligns with your individual requirements.  


For further details about our commitment to compliant standards, please explore our Compliance and Quality page. If you have any inquiries, feel free to reach out to Jo Craythorne via email at jcraythorne@friendshelpingathome.co.uk