Jamil Mawji: Changing lives by putting people first

At a time when calls to better protect the vulnerable in society have never been louder, it is heartening to learn of a company in the care home industry which places the interests of those in care, and their carers, at the forefront of their policy making and business planning. Jamil Mawji, co-founder and co-chairman of the National Care Group Limited talks to us about his aim to improve the lives of others and make society a more inclusive place.

A leader in the field

“What we say about ourselves may be generically the same as other companies that run care facilities, but our uniqueness comes from the fact that we really do put people first,” says Jamil Mawji.

“We wanted to change the mentality of the provision of care. Technology is central to this – through, for example, communications technologies to provide virtual training and to provide certain services – but there is only so much technology can do. Providing care is still very much about people working with people.”

Jamil Mawji MBA2004

Established four years ago, Jamil and his co-founder, Faisal Lalani, identified a number of key issues related to the sector:  that it was a very fragmented market, that it was fast growing, but there was no real leader that was free from restrictive historical and structural boundaries. Today, the National Care Group (NCG) is one of the UK’s leading providers of care and support services to vulnerable adults across the country with an obvious ambition to take the leading role. 

NCG is a business success story, but it is the underpinning social care qualities of the business that make it a truly remarkable company. “Our mission is to enable the individuals we support to live full, rewarding and happy lives,” says Jamil, a former banker with expertise in private equity, distressed debt and restructuring markets who graduated from London Business School with an MBA in 2004.

A business built on compassion

While a former banker might very well be expected to make a success of any number of enterprises, and new ventures, it is however, the compassion with which Jamil tells the story of NCG which resonates most powerfully.

NCG’s specialist homes for vulnerable adults can count their stays in years, as opposed to the national average of between eight to twelve months for elderly care homes.

“We have been able to produce these benefits by recognising that our residents’ needs change over time, and by being mobile, adaptable and effecting positive intervention when needed,” says Jamil. “Every service we take over we conduct a full assessment and with this granularity of information we are able to liaise with local authorities, provide a superior service and reduce costs.”  

It is by supporting and trusting the people who work for NCG that the company is able to innovate and be accurately outcomes focused. The results speak for themselves, and NCG has grown to 249 sites over the past four years, providing a wide range of services, including supported living, residential, outreach and home support, and specialist education services for people with learning difficulties, mental health, autism and acquired brain injuries.

The company describes its ethos as “planning focused on the individual; we help every person achieve their potential, develop new skills and live as independently as possible within their community”, but Jamil warmly extends this approach to the teams of people who go to work with “a song in their heart because they love what they do”.

Inspired by the NHS

Drawing his inspiration from the NHS (“truly a gift from God when compared to health care systems around the world”), Jamil acknowledges that while NCG needs to be run with business discipline, it is important to celebrate the people, like those who work for the NHS, who work tirelessly and with profound passion for their work.  

“The care workers who works for us, and who love what they do, cannot be valued simply as a headcount and a salary.”

Social Care has been on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic and has proved itself to be both professional and innovative. Jamil says “NCG has learnt many things from this pandemic, not least the ability of the care sector to work co-operatively with service users and their families to find new and creative ways of doing things, which both protect the individuals in our care, but also maintain their connections to families and communities.”

The pandemic has brought adult specialist care to the forefront as a partner to the NHS, and Jamil stated that “NCG has learnt many lessons from being at the heart of this crisis, and social care staff and service users, have shown entrepreneurial flair in how they have responded. We have all held fast to our values and been creative in our responses.”

No little wonder that the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table of the UK’s fastest growing private companies has ranked National Care Group in the top three nationally.

About the Author: Christopher Moseley is a Senior PR and Public Affairs Manager at London Business School. He has previously worked across a wide range of sectors, including in-house PR roles in telecoms/IT, defence and aerospace. He also worked for the agency, Weber Shandwick, promoting new technology business start-ups.

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