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Be Caring

Organisation Summary

Business Sector:Health and Social Care

Business Activities:Homecare, services for adults with learning difficulties

Business Location:North of England (HQ Newcastle)

Chief Executive:Lance Gardner MBE



Legal structure:Company Limited by Shares (Staff owned)

Be Caring

Be Caring started life as the CASA family in 2004, with a vision of becoming the UK’s leading employee-owned provider of quality domiciliary health and social care support services to older and disabled people. It was created to replicate the success of the award-winning social enterprise, Sunderland Home Care Associates Limited (SHCA).

It was established to address a specific challenge, namely that although immense fiscal and demographic pressures were demanding an entirely fresh and innovative approach to the delivery of health and social care in the UK, the mutual sector had not stepped up to the challenge. Although there were individual examples of good practice in the social enterprise sector (including SHCA), there was no strategic push to offer a ‘scaled’ mutual alternative to the private sector.

Be Caring is therefore designed to be pioneering, to be a positive, ethical force that contributes to the transformation of health and social care services in the UK. Its social and ethical business model, and its investment in staff, does not weaken its proposition but rather enhances it by leading to high-quality care, staff engagement and motivation, strong commissioner relationships, plus no leakage of profit to external shareholders..

Be Caring is designed with the specific intention of bringing social enterprise scaleability to the health and social care sector and this it has achieved, reaching over £17m pa turnover and providing circa 23,000 hours of care a week across eight territories.

Be Caring’s Group Office is located in Newcastle Upon Tyne and it operates in the following territories:

  • Doncaster
  • Knowsley
  • Leeds
  • Manchester/Trafford
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • North Tyneside
  • Warrington
  • Liverpool

Its primary products are the delivery of home based complex and personal care of older people, but Be Caring also delivers:

  • Palliative/End of Life services
  • Complex care for children
  • Support for adults with a learning disability and/or challenging behaviour

Until December 2014, this unique health and social care offer was implemented through a social franchise model, where head office provided financial management and control, operational and strategic support, and the use of the CASA brand name to majority, local, employee-owned operations through a license agreement.

However during 2014, the CASA Social Franchise family agreed to merge the franchise system into a single employee-owned entity, as it became clear to the CASA Board that the CASA franchise system was hindering its ability to thrive. CASA became Be Caring in 2019.

E3M Member

Be Caring

Name:Lance Gardner MBE

Title :Chair

Lance is a nurse by trade, has been practicing for over 20 years and hopes to be good at it one day. He qualified as a Registered Nurse and Health Visitor in West Yorkshire, before becoming a Nurse Practitioner in 1992.

He gained an MSc in Ethics in Healthcare at Liverpool University in 1992 and was awarded an MBE in 2000 for services to Primary Care Nursing. He is a Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute.

In 1998 he became one of the first owners of a nurse-led primary care business. For three and half years he fought to prove that there was another way to deliver primary care that valued the clinicians and the patients equally.

Lance left Salford with a heavy heart in August 2001 to commence the role of Project Lead for Citizen Leadership at the National Leadership Centre. During 2003 he was seconded into the Department of Health to act as architect on the Governance Arrangements for NHS Foundation Trusts.

He left the Department of Health to become to Director of Modernisation for the Northern Lincolnshire Health & Social Care Community, based in North East Lincolnshire PCT. Within this role he was responsible for co-ordinating services introducing innovations across the whole health economy in a structured way.

Lance was Chief Executive Officer of Care Plus Group in Grimsby, a Social Enterprise emerging from the ‘Right to Request’ scheme in the NHS. His other venture, ‘Open Door’, is a social enterprise providing care in its broadest concepts to marginalised groups and vulnerable people, and has won the NHS National Health and Social Care Award.

He spent 2016 identifying gold standard care of the elderly throughout the UK and Globally. During 2017 he has been working as an independent care designer with clients including a Retirement Village, a major housing Provider and a wellbeing company. He is currently Chair of Be Caring, a leading domiciliary care provider across the north of England.