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By Debbie le Quesne

ECCA and NCA announce merger – and about time too

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The two largest social care provider representative bodies English Community Care Association (ECCA) and National Care Association (NCA) have today announced today they are merging.

With a new name – it will be called Care England – the body will operate from January 1, 2014. I know some will get all watery-eyed over the seeming passing of the two organisations, but frankly, I think it’s a great move.

Sir Digby Jones has always maintained the care sector needed a united front and that fragmentation hindered our cause. Here we have fantastic example of common sense prevailing, while simultaneously creating much sharper tool for care sector lobbying.

In a joint statement the two chairman Nadra Ahmed OBE and Jane Ashcroft said: “Our sector faces a period of considerable challenge which will require robust representation on behalf of our membership. For some time now our two organisations have been working together so it felt like the natural next step in our relationship. We believe that combining the two strong and respected organisations together will strengthen the voice of health and social care and give our membership a wider range of services”

The two CEOs, Sheila Scott OBE and Prof. Martin Green OBE said: “We welcome the opportunity to bring the wealth of experience of the two organisations under one banner and work together to make Care England strong and vibrant and a one-stop shop for providers to support them in delivering a quality service.

“Additionally, for the first time we will be able to demonstrate the strength of the united purpose which has brought us together and both of us welcome the opportunity to work with as many providers as possible to deliver a representative body which will be a powerful influence in the social care through the 21st Century”

Care England hopes many local, regional and national groups will welcome the chance to work with them to make the voice of the sector stronger and stronger.

Quite apart from the significant saving on resources, duplicated work and ending divided ‘brand’ loyalties in the regions, the merger hopefully will be a wake-up call to ministers that the industry is consolidating in a single chorus of demands.

I cannot even begin to think just how much more effective this union will be. True, it is a momentous step, but one that’s probably decades overdue. This really is a case where less is more: more efficient, more powerful, and more empowering to the care sector generally.

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