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Better Nights

Authors: Professor Roger Ellis and Professor David Sines

This report is an evaluation of a Choice Support initiative to remove waking night staff from community-based supported living services for people with learning disabilities. Better Nights assesses the impact of replacing waking night staff with sleep-in staff and assistive technology in services to 26 people with learning disabilities. The initiative is part of a process undertaken by Choice Support and Southwark Council to break down a large block contract into personalised services using ISFs.

Report authors Professor Roger Ellis OBE and Professor David Sines CBE, of the Social and Health Evaluation Unit of Bucks New University identify:

  • a £256,902 per annum saving for Southwark
  • ten examples of qualitative improvements in peoples’ lives

They state that risks were properly assessed and reduced using assistive technology, and that there was full stakeholder consultation in what was a well-managed project.

Writing in the report’s foreword, Chris Dorey (Commissioning Manager, Southwark Council) and Steven Rose (Chief Executive, Choice Support) say:

We believe that this report describes the first example, in the UK, of waking night staff being successfully removed on such a large scale. Not only has money been saved but people’s lives have been enhanced through the use of assistive technology [which] has enabled the delivery of support in less intrusive, more cost effective ways. This evaluation… is an important piece of research that highlights potential to copy this approach. It suggests that if more widely adopted the approach has the potential to help providers and commissioners manage the significant pressures on social care budgets up and down the country.

Better Nights is the second of three planned reports published by The Centre for Welfare Reform describing the personalisation of what was a traditional block contract for 83 people with learning disabilities. The first, ISFs in Action by Sian Hoolahan is available to read here.

For further information please contact Christina Law at Choice Support.


The publisher is The Centre for Welfare Reform.

Better Nights © Professor Roger Ellis and Professor David Sines 2012.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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