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Walsall Shared Lives

Published on 16 July 2021 Print

When it meets on 21 July, one of the reports Walsall Council’s Cabinet will be considering is the pay model for the Shared Lives service. The Shared Lives service recruits local people to become sustainable and innovative self-employed carers, who provide a wide range of care and support to local people avoiding the need for costly traditional services and increasing their choice and life outcomes.

Shared Lives is a very effective model of support to adults and young people who require support and care. The commissioned service is part of a regional and national model of service that also aims to continue to develop and improve to keep abreast of change and customer needs.

Councillor Rose Martin, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care said:

“Although I’m extremely proud of Shared Lives and the support the service offers to some of our most vulnerable residents, the financial aspects of the service haven’t been reviewed for 12 years, resulting in a series of inequitable payments to Shared Lives carers, which are not necessarily reflective of the needs of the service user and the service that the Shared Lives carer provides. The absence of a standard payment offer also makes it difficult to recruit more carers and so I want to rectify that.

“Although we use the term ‘carer’, that’s perhaps not the best description of the people who are commissioned to offer an incredibly wide range of support to residents with varying needs. At the heart of this is the desire that people with additional care and support needs are encouraged and assisted to live as independently, safely and happily as possible.

“While some service users will have very complex needs, others may just need that caring and helping hand to develop some of the basic life skills which will make such a huge difference to their day-to-day lives.”

Walsall Council’s existing Shared Lives carers were given the opportunity to have their say and shape the future of the Shared Lives payments model and their feedback is reflected in the simplified model of banded rates appended to the report.

The council seeks the services of people from all walks of life with a broad range of skills. Some people may be happy to offer a spare room for a period of time to a local person who needs some support and care to bolster their life skills. That could be really basic life skills such as doing a grocery shop with confidence, cooking, cleaning and washing clothes. Others may wish to offer half or full days to support the development and growth in confidence of people who just need that little bit of extra help to live their best lives.

Councillor Martin added:

“Some service users do have complex needs and this will always be taken into account. Many don’t though — they need additional support and encouragement over and above what most of us give to our own children to enable them to thrive. We don’t need ‘experts’, we need real people, who care, from all backgrounds and family circumstances.”

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council said:

“We’ve worked really hard during the pandemic to assist local businesses and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. Inevitably though, many Walsall residents will have lost their jobs and be worrying about putting food on the table. Others may have had to stop working to care for family members, but perhaps in the way of ‘being there’ rather than having to do things all through the day.

“Being part of the Shared Lives service might just work for you and could also change someone else’s life for the better.”


Note to Editor

Link to Cabinet report and appendices

Shared Lives can currently support anyone from the age of 14 onwards with everyday living and activities. This could be someone with a range of disabilities, mental ill-health deterioration, autism or age- related needs including dementia.

Contact the Shared Lives team for more information:

The Walsall Shared Lives Team
Goscote Centre, Walsall, WS3 1SJ
Tel: (01922) 652497