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Respite 2020/2021 – feedback from Shared Lives Schemes

We have been working with Shared Lives carers and schemes  across the network to find out how schemes and local authorities have been supporting Shared Lives carers who have been unable to take respite during the coronavirus pandemic.

We wanted to share with you some of the feedback from across Shared Lives schemes about responses to requests to Local Authorities to provide some recompense for untaken respite.

We have had responses from 94 Shared Lives Schemes and 58% of them have told us that they are either:

  • Paying for respite not used
  • Rolling over all unused respite
  • Rolling over some unused respite
  • Giving Shared Lives carers a choice of ex-gratia payment or roll over
  • Offering a combination of ex-gratia payment and rolling over untaken respite

19% of those who responded are waiting for a decision from Commissioners/Local Authorities.  In some cases Schemes have already received an unfavourable response but have appealed this and are continuing to push.

23% of Schemes have told us they are unable to roll-over or provide ex-gratia payments to Shared Lives carers, several have told us this is because they were able to re-introduce some respite, others say they will review on a case by case basis.

Our position remains that we strongly recommend that schemes roll Shared Lives carers’ respite breaks over to the next year.

We know schemes are talking to Commissioners and Directors of Adult Services to try and make this happen. We also know that there are many practical reasons where breaks and respite cannot happen and why sometimes the full respite allocation cannot be carried over. Where this is the case we would like to see ex-gratia payments made as a thank you in lieu of respite. We know money might not have the restorative benefits of a proper break, but it at least provides some recognition that Shared Lives carers are valued and the extra work is appreciated.

We know some of these positive outcomes are down to the tenacity of some Shared Lives Scheme managers who kept pushing, we also know that the business case (membership log in only) we produced for  Shared Lives schemes, which is aimed at directors of service  has helped others with these conversations.

It is good to see so many positive outcomes but we must acknowledge that we know it is frustrating for those in areas which have not had a positive result to hear about others which have. We are happy to help any scheme struggling to get a positive result on this and we of course, acknowledge that this can be hard to achieve from within the Shared Lives scheme/ Local Authority and we are here to help and advise.

Please contact our carer support team or our scheme support team on info@sharedlivesplus.org.uk, 0151 227 3499 to arrange a callback.