Different Live In Care Companies: What you Need to Know

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Different Live In Care Companies: What you Need to Know

Finding the right provider for live-in home care can feel overwhelming, especially given the wide variation in costs. It's essential to understand that not all providers operate under the same regulatory framework. One significant distinction lies in whether they are regulated or not.

Providers that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are required to meet stringent standards to ensure the quality of care they provide. On the other hand, unregulated providers do not have to adhere to these regulations.

While they may offer lower costs, there is less certainty about the quality of care they offer. In this guide, we'll explore why this distinction matters and how it may impact your decision-making process in finding the best care for you or your loved one.


Regulated Care Companies vs Live In Care Agencies

Fully Managed Service Introductory Agency
Regulated by the CQC Non-regulated
Care provided is fully managed by provider Provider introduces carer
Carers are directly employed by the provider Carers are self-employed
All-inclusive cost, carer PAYE, NI and rota is managed by the provider Registration or set up fee, the ongoing management fee and carer wage are separate
Provider is fully accountable for the quality of care and service Provider is not accountable for the quality and level of care
Provider completed face to face assessments and has a close relationship and contact with Manager Paper based assessments and no ongoing daily support

Live In Care Regulated By the CQC – A Fully Managed Care Service

Regulated care providers in the UK are rigorously assessed and monitored by the CQC to ensure they meet high standards of quality and safety in their care. The CQC evaluates care providers based on five key aspects, which are essential for families to understand when choosing an in-home care service:

Elderly female client and her caregiver laughing

Safety: Ensuring a safe environment for clients. This includes safeguarding from abuse, effective risk management, and proper handling of medicines.

Effectiveness: Focusing on how well the provider meets the individual needs of the person receiving care. This includes the assessment of needs, delivery of the bespoke care plan, staff skills and knowledge, and monitoring of outcomes.

Caring: Evaluating the compassion, kindness, and respect shown by the home care or residential care provider towards clients. This involves ensuring that clients are involved in decisions about their personalised care plan and that their privacy and dignity are respected.

Responsiveness: Assessing how well the service is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual, including how concerns and complaints about the care experience are handled and how accessible the services are.

Well-Led: Examining the leadership and management of the provider, including their vision, strategy, governance, risk management, and how they promote a culture of improvement.

By choosing a CQC-regulated provider, families can have confidence in the quality and safety of the live in care provider. These companies are accountable to the regulatory body, ensuring that they consistently meet and strive to improve upon these critical aspects of care.

Benefits of Live-in Care From a CQC Regulated Provider

Choosing a provider regulated by the care inspectorate ensures that they adhere to strict standards in all areas of their service, including maintaining a safe environment and providing effective and responsive care.

Assurance of Quality: CQC regulation means the home care provider adheres to high standards in healthcare and social care. Regular inspections ensure these standards are continually met, giving you confidence in the type and level of care provided.

Comprehensive Training and Professional Development: Regulated providers invest in extensive training for their staff, ensuring they are well-equipped to provide a high level of care. This includes ongoing training in line with regulatory changes.

Accountability and Transparency: CQC-regulated providers are accountable to a regulatory body, ensuring transparency in their operations. This includes a commitment to safety, compassion, and effectiveness in care delivery.

Personalised and Responsive Care: These providers are evaluated on their ability to deliver high-quality live-in care that is responsive to the unique needs of each individual, adapting their services as your care needs change.

Direct Employment of Care Staff: Regulated providers employ their care staff directly, taking on responsibilities like PAYE, NI, and holiday management. This relieves you of the complexities associated with managing care staff. They also carry out stringent background and reference checks to give you peace of mind.

Access to Detailed Inspection Reports: CQC inspection reports are publicly available, providing insights into a provider’s performance and areas for improvement. This can help you make an informed choice on your live-in home care service.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your care provider is regulated and regularly inspected by the CQC offers peace of mind that your loved ones are in capable and reliable hands.

Non-regulated Live-In Care Providers – An Introductory Care Agency

Non-regulated care providers, often known as introductory agencies, offer a different model of care compared to regulated providers. These agencies typically connect self-employed carers with families, who then manage the live-in care arrangement themselves. This approach can have both benefits and drawbacks, depending on your needs and circumstances.


One of the main reasons families might opt for an introductory live-in care agency is the potential for lower costs. These providers do not have the same regulatory obligations as CQC-regulated agencies, which can translate into reduced fees. Families typically pay a registration fee to the agency and then manage the carer's payments, including National Insurance and holiday pay, directly.

Self-Employed Carers:

The carers introduced by these agencies are self-employed. This means that while they may offer flexibility, they might not have undergone the same level of training, supervision, or professional development as carers employed by regulated agencies.

Responsibility and Management:

With a non-regulated provider, the responsibility of managing the carer's schedule, wellbeing, and quality of care and support falls on the family. This includes ensuring that care standards are met and dealing with any issues that arise.

Assessment and Supervision:

Typically, non-regulated agencies do not conduct in-home or face-to-face assessments. Instead, they may rely on information provided online to determine the care you need. This can mean less personalised service planning compared to regulated providers who usually perform detailed assessments.

Decision Making:

Choosing a non-regulated provider requires careful consideration. Families need to assess their capacity to manage care arrangements directly and consider the level of expertise and support they need.

Non-regulated introductory agencies can offer a more cost-effective solution but come with increased responsibility for families. The level of care and support might differ from regulated services, making it essential for families to weigh up the pros and cons carefully.

How 24-Hour live in care works


We carefully identify the right carer for you.


You remain in the comfort of your own home.


You benefit from around the clock support.


As much or little care as you require.


Your family and friends visit as before.


Our carer becomes more like a friend.


You provide a bedroom for the carer to rest and sleep.

Key Questions to Consider - Choosing the Right Type of Care at Home 

Do you value the flexibility and potential for customisation that a non-regulated provider might offer, especially if your care needs are less complex?

How important is regular inspection and oversight by a regulatory body like the CQC to ensure the highest quality of care in your choice of a care provider?

Are you comfortable with forming a direct working relationship with a carer, rather than a plan of care being managed by a dedicated live-in care provider?

Is cost a significant factor in your decision?

How important is regular inspection and oversight by a regulatory body like the CQC in your choice of a care provider?

Would you prefer a care service that involves in-person assessments throughout your care journey, or are you comfortable with a more streamlined approach that non-regulated providers might use?

Do you require highly structured training and professional development for a team of live-in carers, or are you confident in evaluating and selecting skilled carers independently?

How crucial is it for you to have structured emergency and backup support systems, and do you feel equipped to handle unexpected situations with a non-regulated provider?

Are established quality and safety standards a top priority for you, or are you comfortable assessing the quality and safety of care independently?

Considering your specific care needs and personal preferences, which type of provider aligns best with your expectations?

By considering these questions, you can evaluate both regulated and non-regulated care providers in a more balanced way. Each type of provider has its strengths, and the right choice will depend on your specific needs, circumstances, and what aspects of one-to-one care are most important to you.

Live-in Care Service Client Testimonials

At Unique Senior Care, we're proud to be a CQC registered provider. Our team undergoes thorough training, detailed assessments, and comprehensive background checks to ensure we deliver the best care. These efforts reflect our commitment to the upholding the high quality of care we provide.

We were looking for live-in care for my mother and were delighted to find Unique Senior Care. From the first conversation on the phone to subsequent communications, I have found the staff to be incredibly helpful, friendly, understanding and clear in terms of the service provided. Our first meeting with the live-in care manager was a lovely experience and helped to reassure my mum about arrangements.

Most importantly, having just finished the first two weeks of live-in care, we could not have asked for more from a caregiver, who has taken wonderful care of my mum, cooking her nutritious meals, making sure she is clean, comfortable and safe and providing excellent company. It feels such a relief to know that my mum is in good hands while also able to stay in her home. Thank you, Unique Senior Care.” – PS, Homecare.co.uk

Elderly gentleman and carer drinking tea on sofa under I Need Car Now - Can You Help section of live in care page.

From the very first phone call I made to Unique Senior Care, I have been extremely impressed at their professionalism, consideration and genuine care they have given firstly to myself but mainly the care they give to my uncle. The carers that go to my uncle are absolutely outstanding with how they interact and provide care for my uncle. I highly recommend them and thank you to the care supervisor, who is very approachable and helpful. – AH, Homecare.co.uk

Insights on Our Specialist Care From Our CQC Report

Caregiver and female client sitting on a sofa with the CQC lozenge

Our commitment to outstanding care is not just felt by our clients but is also recognised by our rating from the Care Quality Commission. Here's an excerpt from our latest CQC report that highlights our dedication to quality care:

The management team were committed to providing excellent care and were able to show how positive this had been for people who used the service. People were extremely positive in their feedback and the significant impact it had on their lives. Relatives knew their family members were in receipt of excellent care and had every confidence in the staff.

You can download our latest report here.

Live in Care Agency FAQs

Regulated providers are overseen by bodies like the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the UK. They must meet strict standards of safety, quality, and training. Unregulated providers, while often more cost-effective, do not have the same level of oversight or mandated standards.

CQC regulation ensures care providers meet essential health and safety standards, offer proper training to staff, and provide a certain level of care quality. Regular inspections by the CQC help maintain these standards.

Benefits of unregulated providers include potentially lower costs and more flexibility. However, risks include a lack of standardised training for carers, less oversight in care quality, and limited recourse in case of service issues.

Regulated providers offer structured training programs for their staff, including initial training and ongoing professional development. This ensures carers are equipped to deliver high-quality care and adhere to the latest healthcare standards.

An unregulated provider might be suitable if the care needs are relatively basic, the cost is a significant factor, and the family is capable of managing and supervising the carer directly.

Regulated providers offer ongoing support and supervision to their staff, including regular check-ins, performance reviews, and additional training as needed. They also have established procedures for handling emergencies and client feedback.

Yes, you can switch from an unregulated to a regulated provider. This process typically involves reassessing care needs and finding a regulated provider that can meet these new requirements.

Generally, regulated providers are more expensive due to their higher standards, training requirements, and oversight. Unregulated providers may offer lower rates but with less formal oversight and training.

Consider the responsibilities involved, such as managing schedules, handling payroll and taxes, dealing with any legal aspects of employment, and ensuring the carer meets your care standards without formal oversight.

Yes, regulated providers offer additional protections such as adherence to safety standards, comprehensive insurance policies, formal complaint resolution processes, and regular inspections to ensure quality care. They also employ their staff directly, which means they carry out comprehensive background and reference checks on your behalf.

Making the right choice for your loved one's care is important, and we're here to support you in that process. If you need further information or assistance, feel free to get in touch with us to discuss your specific situation. Your family's care and comfort are always our main focus.

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your Care Advisor

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Where Do You Provide Live-In Home Care Within UK?

Our live-in care services extend from the North Midlands to East Anglia, Essex, down through the South East, across the central belt, home counties, and south coast, reaching as far as Dorset and Somerset.

We are dedicated to maintaining our “Outstanding” CQC Rating and constantly expanding our service areas. Please contact us to confirm if we provide care in your area, as our coverage is always growing.

How Do You Differ From A Care Agency?

We differ from typical care agencies as all our Caregivers are directly employed by us. We ensure the highest quality of care through our in-house training academy, consistent with our commitment to excellence.

How Do I Arrange Live-In Care?

To arrange a live-in care package for you or your loved one starts with an initial discussion with one of our specialist care advisors. From there, they will arrange for one of our Registered Care Managers to visit you at home, without cost or obligation to further discuss and assess your live-in care at home requirements.

Should you then wish to choose us as your live-in care provider our team will then select the most suitable Caregiver for your needs and agree with you when to put care in place.

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