Government ‘fails to get a grip on the sleep in crisis’

The Government has again failed to tackle the funding of sleep-in care, says the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) in response to the news that it is giving care providers 15 months to compensate staff who were underpaid for the shifts, which require workers to stay overnight in care facilities in case of emergency.

VODG, which represents disability charities, says the sleep in crisis remains critical and unresolved despite repeated calls for action from across the social care sector.

Recent changes to the application of the National Living Wage could leave providers liable for up to six years of back payments. HMRC could now 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 a devastating £400 million.

VODG chair, Steve Scown said: “The announcement raises lots of uncertainties and unanswered questions which we shall be taking to Government. This situation risks yet more unintended consequences as the limbo for providers and personal budget holders continues.”

Care England has expressed concern about the continuing uncertainty and called for stronger leadership.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “Government needs to accept the responsibility for meeting the substantial costs of back dating sleep in costs and take full account of the reality that the sector has been operating for years within very contradictory guidance”.

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