Specialist providers worry as Government fails to act on sleep-in shifts
Caring Times, December 2017
The Government has again failed to tackle the funding of sleep in care, says the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), responding to the latest development in the long-running wages wrangle over how sleep-in shifts, where carers sleep through the night unless awoken to respond to residents’ care needs, should be paid for.
The national umbrella group, which represents disability charities, says the ‘sleep-in crisis’ remains critical and unresolved despite repeated calls for action from across the social care sector. Following the earlier hiatus in enforcement, VODG raised significant concerns but committed to working with Government to find a solution.
However, while the latest announcement about a new Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) offers an apparent way forward, there are no assurances on how to fund the devastating retrospective cost.
VODG says that Government’s plans fall well short of what is necessary to remove the continuing damaging uncertainty. VODG chair Steve Scown said the announcement raised a lot of uncertainties and unanswered questions.
“Government has done well to talk to itself, but not the sector,” said Mr Scown.
“The Government is offering employers the opportunity to join a self-correction scheme (the Social Care Compliance Scheme or SCCS), but without any indication about how any retrospective costs will be funded the scheme is unlikely to be attractive to employers.”
Care providers are worried that HMRC could still actively pursue providers who believed they were acting within guidance which the Government has admitted was “potentially misleading”. Independent research has estimated the retrospective cost to the sector could be as much as £400m.