Financial impact of social care sleep in crisis laid bare

The sleep-in payments crisis in social care will cost providers at least £74m a year, rising to a possible £133m in a worst case scenario, according to estimates from research released today.

The costs – caused by the HM Revenue and Customs’ retrospective requirement to provide National Living Wage (NLW) back-pay to sleep-in shift workers for up to six years – are indicated in research commissioned by VODG, the group representing disability charities.

VODG commissioned research company Cordis Bright to produce Estimating the fiscal impact of the national living wage on sleep in cover, an evidence-based estimate of sleep-in pay costs across the care and support sector.

As the research was undertaken in 2016, the true total is now likely to be far greater, given the recent budget confirmed that NLW rates will rise from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 an hour from next April. The report stresses that estimates are conservative because the research excludes domiciliary care and people who directly employ personal assistants.

The analysis was commissioned last year to provide VODG members with detailed insight into the challenge facing the sector. However, amid rising public media and political interest in the issue and mounting pressure on the government to tackle the concerns over back-pay, VODG has released the report publically.

VODG has consistently challenged the government to get to grips with the sleep-in funding crisis – arguing that many providers would be ruined and many individual disabled people who employ personal assistants through personal budgets also hit with big bills. The social care sector is already facing a massive funding crisis, with no extra money in the budget despite rising demand for services.