Yesterday the UK Government announced their latest social care investment to put people at the Heart of Care so that everyone in England will have access to outstanding, quality care which empowers them to lead fulfilling lives and have the greatest possible independence. Building on the ‘People at the Heart of Care’ white paper, the government plans to further digitise the social care sector and bolster the workforce. Alongside this, the Better Care Fund (published yesterday) will ensure at least £16.8 billion is spent to make sure people receive the right care in the right place and at the right time.

Innovation and improvement 

Shared Lives was the only model of care referenced and recognised in today’s announcement as an example of innovation,

“Shared Lives schemes have been scaled up across the country to offer greater flexibility and more community-based care. Embedding innovative approaches to delivering care can ensure that care is more personalised, supports individuals to live more independently for longer, and can adjust to the needs of future populations.”

This follows our recent successful meeting in February with Helen Whately, Minister of State for Health and Social Care. After our visit she tweeted,

“Great to meet the team from #SharedLives yesterday. It’s a fabulous scheme for people with Learning Disabilities and others who need extra care and support in their daily life.”

The reference to Shared Lives was part of the announcement for an innovation and improvement unit to explore creative solutions for improving care; investing at least £35million over the next two years to:

  • Support local systems to trial and scale innovative approaches to transform the quality of care.
  • Innovate and improve local authority strengths-based assessments and engagement with people and their carers.
  • Work with sector partners and across government to understand operational challenges and regional variations to direct support to where it is most needed.

Supporting people to remain independent at home

In partnership with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) a new and independently chaired Older People’s Housing Taskforce will decide how best to provide a greater range of suitable housing depending on the support people need in their own home (or a residential home). They are investing an additional £102 million over 2 years to increase the level of housing adaptation support available in local areas to help people stay at home for longer if this is what they prefer, or to get home quickly after a stay in hospital.

We hope that both Shared Lives, which increasingly supports older people and Homeshare, which can reduce social isolation for older people, are included in the scope of the Taskforce. We stand ready to assist with the work of the Taskforce.

What this means for Shared Lives and Homeshare

At Shared Lives Plus we are hopeful that funding from the innovation and improvement unit will be allocated to further scale up and grow Shared Lives, and it is promising that Shared Lives has been featured in the ‘people at the Heart of Care’ paper. Whilst today’s announcement surrounding the Older People’s Housing Taskforce focuses on home improvements to enable people to stay at home for longer, it is clear that non-clinical community support such as Homeshare goes hand in hand with the Government’s plans.

Following today’s announcement, we are continuing to have regular conversations with the DHSC and other partners to assess how we can support the growth of both Shared Lives and Homeshare, make them accessible to all across the country, and align both Shared Lives and Homeshare with Government plans of investment.

If you would like to read the papers released today, you can follow these links:

Next steps to put People at the Heart of Care

Better Care Fund policy framework