Independent survey to assess impact of sleep-in pay crisis on future of social care

New independent research(1) launched today will assess how the nation’s care and support sector is affected by an estimated £400m bill for sleep-in shifts back pay.

Care providers are being urged to participate in the national survey commissioned by the Solve Sleep-Ins Alliance (#SolveSleepIns), a group of organisations that represent providers delivering overnight support shifts. The alliance is formed of the Association for Real Change, Care England, Learning Disability England, Learning Disability Voices and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) (2).

A full independent, accurate analysis of the impact of the bill for sleep-in back pay on social care is urgently needed.

Changes to government guidance mean that sleep-in staff who previously earned around £30 per shift must be paid minimum wage, with providers liable for six years’ worth of back pay for such shifts. The unexpected bill comes amid an existing financial crisis in social care, with yearly cuts since 2010 amounting to £6.3 billion and planned savings in 2017/18 a further £824m.

The Social Care Compliance Scheme for sleep-ins requires providers to assess their liability and repay arrears to staff. This unexpected and significant cost is leading to organisations making key business decisions that will shape future services. Some providers face closing their services, for example, while other, larger organisations will be forced to use their reserves or sell properties to meet the cost based on the latest feedback from members of the representative organisations.

Earlier commissioned work has already calculated the impact on the market and the Department for Health and Social Care has commissioned Laing Buisson and Frontier Economics to assess the potential back-pay cost to the sector. Leading representative bodies in the social care sector are cooperating with this work, despite, unanswered questions.

A spokesperson for the Solve Sleep-Ins Alliance said:

“The back-pay liability is a threat to the sustainability and stability of social care. Overnight support is essential and care staff are entitled to receive pay arrears, but it’s imperative we have a true picture of how the sector will be affected by a huge bill for which we’re entirely unprepared.

Changes to providers’ services, support arrangements and workforce caused by meeting this cost will clearly impact upon people that rely on the care we deliver. The Solve Sleep-Ins Alliance asks all providers to participate in this survey so we benefit from a fuller, more accurate picture of the challenge ahead.”

The survey, accessible via will close at midnight on Monday 5 March 2018. Data will not be shared across organisations and only aggregated data will be reported in our policy influencing and campaigning activities.

Organisations are invited to join the online conversation via #SolveSleepIns and #StopSleepInCrisis hashtags.


(1) The survey work is being undertaken by Agenda Consulting and Trowers & Hamlins LLP through a commission by VODG.

(2) Association for Real Change, Care England, Learning Disability England, Learning Disability Voices and VODG.