Borough to look at new options for recruiting Shared Lives Scheme carers after £235,000 savings shortfall

Borough to look at new options for recruiting Shared Lives Scheme carers after £235,000 savings shortfall

Simon Meechan

A disappointing uptake for a scheme which houses people with learning difficulties with host families means the borough will look at new ways to recruit carers.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead hoped the Shared Lives Scheme would save it £300,000 this financial year, but its latest forecast shows it will only save around £65,000.

Under the scheme, people with learning disabilities move into the home of another family, with the host providing accommodation and care. It is designed to cut the cost of care for the borough and, the borough says, to promote independent living.

A report heard by the Adult Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel last night, and set to be heard at Cabinet last night, says six people are housed on a permanent basis under the scheme.

It says Ategi, which was awarded the contract to recruit carers, has been 'unsuccessful despite efforts to recruit shared lives carers'.

Speaking at Wednesday's scrutiny panel meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall, the borough's head of strategic commissioning for adult social care and housing, Nick Davies, said: "What we are now trying to do is look at another way of addressing that recruitment locally, there's a number of options we're looking at."

This will include, he said, an 'in depth conversation' with Buckinghamshire County Council, where the scheme has proved more successful.

The report lists sharing the service with West Berkshire as a potential solution, with either West Berkshire of Ategi continuing to recruit carers. Another idea is to use the Royal Borough's fostering team to recruit carers.

It says that 2016/17 and 2016/17 will deliver savings, a point which Cllr Lynne Jones (Old Windsor Residents Association, Old Windsor) contested.

She said:"I do not think we can say it will, because, as we see, we are looking at different ways of recruitment now, so I do not think we can be absolutely sure until we have something in place."

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