Social care is in crisis. The government created a television ad campaign for the purpose of addressing the 105,000 shortages.

The low number of people who are able to access social services jobs in Britain is due to difficult working conditions, Brexit, Burn-out, Low Pay, and mandatory Covid-19 vaccine rules.

Hoping to address this issue is Steve O’Brien, 48, the co-founder and CEO of a newly launched app, Outt – an online social care agency that says it can offer workers and clients a better deal.

He said, “The social sector is experiencing a staffing crisis. Over the past 18 month our team have been working on new technology in order to find a solution.”

Outt effectively cuts out social care recruiters. It claims these agencies slow the hiring process and take a bigger commission chunk than what they should

Outt eliminates social care recruiters. These agencies are accused of slowing down the process of hiring and taking a larger commission than they should.

Outt, a London-based social service jobs platform that matches qualified care professionals seeking work in private or government care centers that offer permanent, temporary and contract positions.

The company was also launched in beta this year, while still testing some tech.

Outt eliminates social care recruiters. Outt claims that these agencies slow down the process of recruiting and get a higher commission percentage than necessary. 

Employers can see this by using Outt’s temporary agency savings calculator, which calculates how much you could save per hire.

Care workers were traditionally paid for their work each week either weekly or monthly. If they so choose, outt care workers can be paid every day. 

Outt employs all applicants under PAYE, giving care workers flexibility in when and how they receive their pay via the app.

You can register for the free app and get complimentary skill training to help you refresh your knowledge in case of a Covid-19 outbreak.

O’Brien won’t reveal the percentage, but he does admit that it is in single digits. This, O’Brien claims, is much less than the 20 percent agencies typically charge to find temp or contract workers. 

Outt also undercuts agencies when it comes to hiring permanent social care workers by charging recruiters a £1,000 flat fee per hire.

Steve O'Brien, 48, the co-founder and CEO of a newly launched app, Outt

Steve O’Brien (48), is the founder and CEO of Outt, a new app.

O’Brien said, “We understand how the traditional care agencies function. It’s not easy, but we’ve experienced it. And we also have seen how incredible social service professionals can work insane hours to earn low wages. 

“This online agency was created to help these people who make up the core of the care sector.

He also said that any social worker promoted to the app has to pass thorough background checks prior they are allowed onto the platform. O’Brien explained that “everyone who’s there is completely compliant.”

“We checked their ability to work, did reference and police checks. It is possible to reduce the hiring process from several months down to a few days. Every applicant can perform the job, which is what recruiters are able to tell.

Fresh start 

O’Brien founded Outt in response to the closure of his nursing recruiting business. 

He stated that the company closed literally overnight due to overstaffing or clients having all died.

They aren’t getting the minimum wages, even though their beds are disturbed or they listen out for any emergencies. 

 Steve O’Brien, co-founder and CEO of Outt

O’Brien could not leave the industry despite this experience. He’d been working in social services since 1980s. 

He added: “It is a sector that I am familiar with, and in my spare time I would work in a nursing facility in the 80s.

O’Brien also says Outt was founded by the partners who were fed up of the sector for healthcare recruitment. 

Outt launched after the partners reunited. Aleix Moreno was appointed operations manager and Ben Oakley became head of legal.

O’Brien explained that many care providers working in homes and social services work for minimum wages (even in London). To make ends meet, they have to work hard! 

“We realized that, especially after Covid came to the market, care professionals needed flexibility and more control over their work hours, just as people working in other fields. Covid has changed everything. 

Outt's management team: From left to right is co-founder and CEO Steve O’Brien; Mark Rigby - CCO and co-founder, Ben Oakley, CLO and co-founder; Natalie Karr, CMO and co-founder and Aleix Moreno, operations manager

Outt’s management team: From left to right is co-founder and CEO Steve O’Brien; Mark Rigby – CCO and co-founder, Ben Oakley, CLO and co-founder; Natalie Karr, CMO and co-founder and Aleix Moreno, operations manager

Earn a living by working in sleep-in hours

Outt’s campaigns to protect the rights of social workers and its management team are passionate about worker pay for their sleep-in shifts. 

A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that caregivers aren’t entitled to minimum wages while they sleep at work had been made clear.

O’Brien feels the Court made the wrong decision and refuses to put any sleep-in shifts that offer less than £10 on the app. 

He pointed out that they don’t get the minimum wage despite being awakened from sleep, or listening to what might happen.

Outt is not content with merely voicing his opinion on the sleep in pay debate. Outt advocates tax breaks for key workers and argues that reducing taxes would be the best way to aid those making lower wages.

O’Brien explains: ‘We have a minimum £10 an hour rate, and this will go up with the minimum wage increase. There’s no way you can advertise £9 an hour shifts as our system won’t allow that.’

CEO Steve O’Brien says Outt wants to be prepared in time for the NHS' 2023 tendering process

CEO Steve O’Brien says Outt wants to be prepared in time for the NHS’ 2023 tendering process

Crowdcube Funding

While the company initially plans to focus on Greater London for its initial services, they will eventually be offered in other large cities, such as Birmingham and Sheffield. O’Brien said he wanted to make Outt ready for the NHS 2023 tendering process. 

He says: ‘They only open this up every five years but their annual spend is about £6.2billion on contract and temp staffing.’

For the financial year ending March 2021, Outt has garnered £253,000 in revenue and made £141,000 in net profit. 

The current site has approximately 2,500 registered healthcare professionals. However, the founders think that this number could rise to 700 per month. This is because of the responses they receive when they run a campaign.

Outt is set to officially go live in December. O’Brien adds: ‘We’re looking at generating revenue of £43million and posting pre-tax profits of £2.5million over the next five years.

Through the app, social care workers can decide when, where and how they will get paid

Social care workers have the ability to use the app to decide how, when and where they want their payments made.

Initially, the business was only founder-funded, but it was awarded £50,000 from InnovateUK Government funding in 2020, which the partners used to develop its rapid registration module, which has helped to reduce the time to hire through the app.

The company is now seeking further funding of £200,000 via Crowdcube, which will help the business launch its ‘go to market’ strategy. The company is likely to reach its funding goal. 

At the time of writing the company raised £189,914 – 94 per cent of its funding level and had 23 days left to call for funds on the crowdfunding platform.

O’Brien thinks that despite the challenges that entrepreneurs face right now, it is the best time to start a business. He argues that there are many obstacles that have been eliminated. 

He says, “You no longer need to have an office.” You can work remotely. It’s possible to work from home with a good Wi-Fi signal.

He said, perhaps reflecting upon the closing of his business in nursing recruitment: “And a failure doesn’t mean that’s the end.” Every day you learn something new. It doesn’t matter if you are thinking of doing it, so long as your finances can cover the cost.

Small Business Essentials

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