Becoming a Shared Lives carer | Oxfordshire County Council

Becoming a Shared Lives carer

Carers are people from all walks of life who are able to provide care in their homes.


The essence of being a Shared Lives carer is that you can offer time, encouragement and opportunity while being aware of an individual's needs.

Carers can be:

  • single people
  • single parents
  • couples living together
  • married couples
  • couples with children
  • friends sharing accommodation.

You can be a Shared Lives carer regardless of your age, ethnicity, sexuality or disability.

However, you will need to either own or rent your own home and be willing to share your home with a vulnerable or disabled person.

Do Shared Lives carers get paid?

Yes, the service pays an agreed fee for the service provided. The amount of payment is reflected in the type and amount of provision. More details about payments.

The role should be considered as either a career or a working from home option to employment.

What other support is given to carers?

As a Shared Lives carer with Oxfordshire County Council you will have automatic membership of the Shared Lives Plus network, a UK charity which represents the interests of all those involved in Shared Lives.

Advice is offered in relation to taxable earnings. You will also automatically qualify for Oxfordshire Public Liability insurance for Shared Lives.

What is the process of becoming a carer?

The approval process includes:

  • a full assessment is undertaken on the applicant or applicants
  • personal and medical references
  • full checks with the Criminal Records Bureau
  • a pre-application home visit from a member of the Shared Lives Team
  • a pre-approval training programme
  • consideration of the application by an independent panel for approval.

How long do arrangements last?

There is a range of flexible care services:

Day care

Taking care of a person for a few hours per day but not overnight.

Short term or respite care

Providing a short break for a vulnerable person. This can be anything from one night to a few weeks at a time and may be a one-off or on a regular basis.

Emergency care

When support is needed urgently, for example, the same or next day, without time for introductory visits.

Long term care / permanent arrangement

When the plan is for a vulnerable person to live long term with a carer, that is, anything over three months.

Trial period

Before an arrangement takes place there is always a trial period, which will vary according to individual circumstances.

Find out more about Shared Lives

Use our online form to express an interest or find out more or contact us if you would like to speak to someone.

Download our guides


This video gives an overview of how the scheme works.

Read video transcript

How it works:

John: "Someone came from social services with Annie and her mother who was in poor health, eventually she stayed. Annie’s been with us 15 years now!"

Sue: "Gordon came to meet us. We had tea. You stayed a couple of nights to see if we all liked each other. That was four years ago."

Laura: "We were introduced weren't we? You came over with your social worker and met me and Chris, and the dog. You asked some questions about things we do. It progressed from there didn't it?


eLearning for Shared Lives carers

Dealing with tax can be daunting for first time carers. HM Revenue and Customs have developed free eLearning to help people get to grips with tax affairs.

Last reviewed
13 December 2017
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