As Parliament returns this week Ministers are being urged to resolve the sleep in payments crisis. In the last month Unison have appealed the Royal MencapSociety v Tomlinson-Blake judgement and HMRC have issued confusing guidance on sleep in payments. The question as to why HMRC ‘jumped the gun’ ahead of official Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy guidance remains unanswered.
The chair of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) Steve Scown has called for urgent action:
“It is over seven weeks since the Court of Appeal judgement was handed down. Radio silence from government is unacceptable. The continued uncertainty, for both social care staff and providers, helps no-one.”
He goes on to say:
“As Parliament returns this week we are taking the opportunity to remind government that the time has come to make urgent and important decisions about the future of sleep in support. Government must to be very clear on what changes it is proposing about sleep in shift work ahead of wider consultation.”
VODG remains concerned that without clarity from government:
- Local care markets may move in ad hoc and un-coordinated ways putting at risk essential overnight support services for disabled people and their carers.
- There will be on-going distraction that could reduce investment in future services – such as the pressing challenges associated with delivering transforming care and moving people with learning disabilities and/or autism out of long-stay hospitals.
- Providers continue to take expensive legal advice and action – funds which could be better spent elsewhere.
VODG remains committed to working across the sector, and with government, to reach a solution that will ensure the sustainability of essential care services offering overnight support.