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Date published: December 14, 2023

Shared Lives sector remains resilient amongst new opportunity for growth – The state of the UK sector 2022-2023

Shared Lives Plus have released the latest UK state of the sector report for Shared Lives; highlighting statistics, outcomes and successes across all four nations during 2022-2023. The recent announcement of the Accelerating reform fund which focuses on scaling innovative social care priorities, provides a unique opportunity to see further growth in Shared Lives moving forward.

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Key findings

  • Shared Lives continues to enable the best outcomes for people who need support. In October 2023, CQC rated Shared Lives schemes in England (where 83% of all people supported are based) as 97% good or outstanding. This rating has remained stable since October 2022. The most recent Care Inspectorate Scotland reports show that 40% of schemes received a grade of Excellent, and 33% as Very Good. 
  • Shared Lives continues to remain resilient and steady in the face of ongoing challenges, including the cost-of-living crisis.  
  • The number of people supported has decreased slightly by 33 (-3%).
  • The total number of Shared Lives carers across the UK has increased by an encouraging 614 (7%). There is a measurable improvement in England, where there has been an 8% increase in carers.
  • The size of Shared Lives remains far too small for such a high-quality model. Shared Lives carers make up just 1% of the social care workforce in England, 0.5% in Scotland, and 1% in Wales.  


The Shared Lives sector has remained buoyant in the face of ongoing challenges. Shared Lives carers and Shared Lives schemes have continued in their dedication to providing high quality, person-centred care. As a result, people supported by Shared Lives continue to live fuller and better lives within their communities, and Shared Lives enables meaningful relationships which contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing. This is evidenced in the statistic that 97% of people in Shared Lives felt they were part of the family most or all the time. The ability of Shared Lives to provide the best outcomes for supported people is also reflected in its continued position as the highest rated form of social care in England, where 83% of all supported people are based.  

Shared Lives is also one of the most cost-effective forms of social care. Independent analysis of the cost effectiveness of Shared Lives shows, in England and Wales, an average saving between £8k and £30k per annum, depending on the person’s support needs and local alternative services.

To capitalise on its potential for growth, Shared Lives requires political and financial investment from local and central government in each of the nations. We welcome the inclusion of Shared Lives as the first priority on the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) Accelerating reform fund, demonstrating the importance of shared living in the government’s priorities for adult social care.

We would not have been able to write this report without the co-operation of the 145 Shared Lives schemes across the UK. The data shared by these schemes, the work of our Membership team, and the work of our colleagues in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland means this report offers the highest quality and most detailed statistics on the state of the Shared Lives sector to date.