Care xchange - Making care work for everyone




The Headline

A digital labour exchange - co-designed by local authorities - to increase the pool of vetted care-givers from within the community and as a result deliver more flexible and appropriate care services to those in need.


The digital platform is already being successfully used in the logistics and hospitality sectors, and we are looking for councils to co-design on-boarding modules and test its use to 'carefully disrupt' the current agency dominated model, ensuring safeguarding standards are maintained.


This is a discovery project to unearth the challenges and requirements of local authority ASC teams to enable more responsive, efficient and effective care provision.


The Vision

Within every community there are people who are underemployed. Within every community there is a growing need around care provision. The current reliance of local authorities on care agencies is unsustainable both from a financial and resource perspective.


Our vision is to carefully disrupt the current agency dominated model and bring a new, willing and untapped resource into the care provision market without compromising on safeguarding our most vulnerable. To promote caring as a positive career choice, to offer not only flexibility and a guaranteed living wage, but reduce the cost of care for local authorities in the process.


The Proposal

The SME Labour xchange has developed a joint cloud and physical worker on boarding process, which greatly reduces the cost to bring new individuals into the care industry, whilst creating a superior audit chain for safeguarding.


A version of the Care xchange - simply called Labour xchange - is already used in the logistics and hospitality sectors. Like the care sector, these are areas where demand is flexible and having a pool of additional, available resource helps companies meet fluctuating demand.


Using models now familiar to people from platforms such as AirBnB, TaskRabbit et al, the Labour xchange allows individuals to log the exact times they are free and match them with appropriate available work.


The Care xchange proposes to use a cloud-based digital platform - already developed - to unlock available care capacity from people not directly working in the sector but who are qualified to do so, whilst guaranteeing carers a living wage.


It also proposes that by combining the current care resource into one digital platform gives better utilization of the current resources and greater visibility in terms of reporting and management.


Comprehensive vetting processes - co-designed with councils - will be put in place to ensure appropriate skills, qualifications and safety checks are carried out.


Key to the final solution and improving care delivery more widely is this discovery phase, involving analysis and prototyping work to ensure the onboarding modules for all carers meet local authority guidelines, and that the solution gives improved visibility of a council’s caring demand and provision.


What does it cost to be involved?

£10,000 per council


What else is required?

Two days on site with each partner to assess current systems, interview key care professionals from within ASC service, who both focus on the day to day delivery of care as well as decision makers who have a wider view of care provision and the council’s strategic aims. Plus genuine commitment to drive transformation and change in the care sector.



Across the UK there is a deficit of 150,000 professional care workers. This affects all aspects of society, from bed blocking in the NHS to local authorities unable to find providers with sufficient capacity to provide care. Ultimately this means that people in need of care are not having their needs met, and with demand increasing, the situation is only going to get worse.


A fundamental issue is that current pay and conditions of the care industry is not sufficient to attract, recruit and retain sufficient staff. The Labour xchange model reduces cost, allowing more of the money put into care to go to the individuals carrying out the work. Additionally by enabling people to work when convenient to them it will increase the desirability of the role further.


Existing models of care within local authorities - in the main - rely on agency provision. A lot of time is spent on the phone organising care, and despite financing the provision of care local authorities are often unsighted on the critical detail of their care provision, as well as lacking an audit trail.


On top of this care related background, is the pressing issue that a growing number of people across the UK are underemployed. They are earning, but not earning enough, which can lead not only to being caught in a poverty trap, but have detrimental impacts across skills, employment options, education, health - including mental health - and living standards.


Project description

This project is seeking three councils to work together with Labour xchange to develop the Care xchange, to specifically meet local authority care provision needs and ensure the model is replicable.


This is a discovery phase project covering:


  • Analysis of the ‘as-is’ process of commissioning care and identifying where and how a digital platform could support/improve it;
  • Identification of the exact requirements for carer onboarding modules, including experience, CBS checks, additional documentation to ensure those registering are certified to work;
  • Detailing the pathway to ensure the physical and emotional resilience of new carers -  assessing their fitness, capacity and capability to work in a caring environment;
  • What are the mandatory reporting requirements in terms of safeguarding KPIs and wider internal/external audits, as well as what additional metrics would be useful to help improve efficiency of care.


The result of the discovery phase will include:


  • A working prototype of Care xchange for care professionals to explore and test, including the onboarding modules and different user pathways;
  • A design for a local authority specific dashboard to enable an improved understanding of local care provision and associated costs, provide enhanced monitoring and measurement as well as sight of future capacity;
  • A validated pathway for new carers to assess their fitness, capacity and capability to work in a caring environment;
  • A council focused assessment of how the Care xchange could support and improve care delivery based on local needs, challenges and unmet demand.


Benefit Impact Assessment

A detailed early stage business model has been designed to show the financial benefit for councils based the required pool of carers to address overall caring needs.


Whilst there are training and DBS check costs, the overall saving of using the Carer xchange over traditional agency model (valued in the model at £12 per visit), suggests a £5 per care visit saving.


During the collaboration the business model will be refined, but has initially been drawn up following pilots in south London and Southend, as well as informed by work Labour xchange undertakes in the private sector - namely the hospitality, supermarket and logistics sectors - which equally rely heavily on agency models.


Non-financial benefits

  • Access to a wider pool of carers living within the community and the ability to better meet growing demand in addition to unmet demand;
  • Clarity of caring activities across the LA including appointment times, carers who attended, their certification etc;
  • Streamlining of current business process, as digital platform shows real time capacity and availability, and manages carer payments and invoicing;
  • Gives councils greater insight into how the ASC budgets are being spent, where & with whom;
  • Visibility of both council funded care packages as well as direct payments and self funders, giving a clearer understanding  of how they are accessing carer support and how money is being spent in relation to the local economy;
  • Helps councils who struggle to pay carers the living wage via agencies, and by the living wage being paid this leads to a positive impact on retention.



4-6 months from project start


Related work of note

Labour xchange has partnered with Community Trade Union so when people join Labour xchange they get three months free union membership. This helps ensure no one is ever exploited through poor working practices.


Partnering with charities such as working families to aid underemployed people who may have families to care for get back into work.


We have been shortlisted by the RSA for the future work awards recognising the unique and positive approach Labour xchange have.


Labour xchange are one of the core members of the London Mayors "Good work standard"


Labour xchange are also proud to have been accredited by the "Living Wage Foundation"within six months of launching its services for its work in raising the rate of pay for people working in the “gig” or temporary work sectors.