Workers Expose Life in Lifeways/Cambian Supported Living.



The Lifeways Group has grown both organically and strategically to become the leading provider of support services for people with diverse and complex needs ( LD/autistic procurement) across the UK’

Since when have we deemed the autistic and learning disabled to have ‘complex’ needs?

But despite this, dealt with them very simplistically by drugs to make them easily processed/managed by itinerant  carers in institutions- disingenuously labelled ‘care in  the community’/independent living.

Omers,  bought Lifeways’ care  of 1500  learning disabled  adults, including  Thomas Rawnsley  for £207 million  in 2013.

Ever greedy, for more profit, the new owners Cambian, whose boss earns £450,000 a year, reduced support  workers’  pay, to below the minimum wage.

Cambian now own practically all services for the LD, including the very lucrative autistic market.

Community NHS intensive support  services  were taken over by private companies, set up by GPs and community groups, that supported the LD/autistic in their family home.

Cambian is buying up these private companies, with huge pay outs to the group directors,  despite the conflict of interests, between Cambian’s role of home ‘support’ provider and that of, life time minimum £4,500 per week ‘community’, ‘independent’ living provider..

Enforcing LA/ NHS/ government policy, as ‘Supported/Community Living’ is now the only future for the autistic/learning disabled.

The Community Support team of psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, occupational therapist.  and developmental officer, will be employed by Cambian, and provide the reports for the secret Court of Protection, who decide if it is in a person’s ‘best interests’, to be removed to Cambian’s residential care homes.

So Cambian are allowed to create their own captive consumers.

And, as they are often the only commissioned by LA/NHS services they have the monopoly on service provision.

The only oversight of their services, is by the very local authority/NHS that commissioned the service, who are liable if the service proved inadequate or abusive.

And an occasional, usually announced, visit from the CQC, who check on paper staff ratio, safety, but not substantive adequacy of service and individual complaints are not considered..

Service users, nor, their family have any choice and effectively cannot complain.

And most are gagged by the COP from disclosing,  anything about the service on the excuse, that it is not in the service users ‘best interests’ as it might hinder future service provision.

And service users confidentiality.

Commissioning processes are usually in secret and any internal investigations into a provider , its profits, sub contracts, etc, subject now to corporate confidentiality.

Yet, Cambian/ Lifeways, are paid by the public purse, on the deemed support needed, based on the deemed severity of the condition. A basic  of  £4,500 and much more is paid for each resident.

Whilst no respite, support or equipment is provided to family carers who receive £62.50 per week Carers Allowance for 24/7 care and the LD/autistic £105 DLA.

It is only from comments on the internet, that we can  glean, what life is like in supported living, from where there is no escape.

Here, are some support workers comments.

Institutional provision of this type, is the government’s ONLY solution, to the Winterbourne View abuse, yet Winterbourne, was the same for profits provision that’s caused the abuse.

Currently, 3500 people, are  being moved, from public NHS hospital ATUs, into such provision  in the highly publicised, laudable guise of  giving the disabled, the right to their ‘own home’  in their community.

Here are Care Workers comments – our only glimpse of how these disabled live and what service is being provided for over £4,000 per week.:


Worker (Current Employee), South – January 8, 2014

Cons: seriously where do I start.

Lifeways has now entered a consultation period which means the employees will be paid a lot less than what they currently do. In many cases a £3-6k a year pay cut.

Management do NOT listen to any complaints.

Really unorganised.

Staff turnover is far too high.

Training within the job is substandard

Never paid the correct wages each month then there is a considerable wait to receive what your owed.

A truly disgraceful company.


Support worker (Current Employee), Wirral – February 21, 2014

Cons: everything

I’ve worked for the company unfortunately for 2 years and desperate to leave they treat the staff terrible the moral is so low its depressing. Seniors and management claim to be royalty.

Pay cuts constantly cutting corners.

Worst company to work for avoid at all costs and that’s coming from inclusive lifestyles who lifeways have bought out promised the world and ended up writing the review to prevent another eager willing person from destroying there career

Not a fun company

support worker (Current Employee), Swinton, SCT – March 3, 2014

Cons: long long hours

Lifeways runs its services for users as a business not a service and support, they never get wages right, not their when staff need them

worst company ever

Support Worker (Former Employee), Ayrshire – March 13, 2014

Pros: lovely service users

Cons: long hours, low pay, no respect for staff

If you want to be treated like a piece off dirt then this is the place for you.

 Only interested in making company directors money ( lifeways bought over by USA over a yr ago) don’t care how they get it.

Definitely not interested in clients needs or staff.

Promoting.. THERE ..purse strings is the only description I can give.

Moral in this company is an all time low.

 Demeaning wages for a demeaning job ( ripped the heart out of what was a great job ) , cut holidays , no overtime to make up for loss wages n don’t bother being sick cos you don’t get paid.

How this company seems to get clients is beyond me ( oh yes I do know they cut the staff s wages n put in the least price for tenders as possible other wise a cheap job for a cheap company) .

This worker does not know his employer is paid over £3,500 per week per client.

The job is supposed to be promoting independence but most of there clients are usually house bound and hardly get out to there activities.

As long as the shifts are covered they don’t care who they put in to cover

( trained or not ie manual handling, epilepsy training ) .

Clients don’t know who is coming into support them on any day ( which is so wrong) I feel so sorry for the clients

and the decent hard working staff who I can say that mostly are excellent , qualified n profession at there job. Good staff going to waste. No wonder staff are leaving in droves even the line managers have left. Treat your staff with respect n they ‘ll repay you back , no this company. Name n number that’s it.


support worker (Former Employee), uk – April 4, 2014

Pros: survice users

Cons: everything

Worked for the company for 2 years absolutely glad im out of there…where do I start.

well first all the place I worked was jus taken over from lifeways the staff werr great. Then things turned for the worst… cut back.

Service users went days with no money. Lost a team leader and due to cutbacks noone was bothering to apply to be one.. staff had to do the team leader role.

Paperwork ect aswel as support service users.. management are awful. Look down at you and if something goes wrong it was support workers fault.

Constantly getting threats if you where generally ill and had to take a day off sick.. rotas were awful expected to work constantly basically minimum wage.

No training offered. No offer to do NVQ.. no complaints weren’t dealt with.

Offices didnt listen to any enquirys… never had the relevant paperwork.. was told ink was to expencive for the office computer so went weeks without use for that… lifeways looseing all their old staff who were loyal andloved their job for young people who didnt even want to work for the company . constantly had new staff starting and not coming bk.. having the wrong staff for the service user.. the list goes on and on… however the service users were always happy because they had some great staff who wouldnt let that effect the way they worked and for them they didnt have a clue what the staff had to deal with.

You can clearly see the way the positive comments have been written are from management… there are loads of genuine companies that will respect their staff and pay more.. worth the research.

A job is a job but you wont be happy there

support worker (Current Employee), worcestershire – May 4, 2014

the current management needs reviewing, they are not helpful or supporting to its staff and takes them for vantage. there has been no formal training offered apart from the mandatory health and safety and first aid training.

The NVQ training that was promised  has never been delivered.  The support staff who don’t work in the office are very nice and supportive to other staff.

Lifeways wasn’t very team oriented

support worker (Former Employee), Poole, ENG – July 22, 2014

Pros: i got to encourage my service user to do more things

Cons: total lack of support from team leaders and service managers

I would work with my service user either to get him ready for the day or ready for bed depending on the shift I worked on. I didn’t have any training while there and the management were not to supportive.

Ignore ALL positive reviews- management trying to big themselves up

Support Worker (Former Employee), North West – August 4, 2014

Pros: clients were some of the best ive ever worked with

Cons: long hours, poor pay, poor management, poor training, poor people skills, no moving forward, no career progression, stuck in the past with old techniques, uses isolation of clients as punishment, poorly trained staff


Absolutely THEE worst job I have ever ever had.

Poor, unorganized management.

Took over a service in mental health – manager had never worked in mental health before.

Senior was a bully who refused to accept changes, the manager received many complaints but openly admitted he was too scared to approach her due to her experience that he lacked.

EVERY SINGLE wage I had was wrong.

Wages are poor, in comparison to the long hours you are expected to work.

Manger worked in a different city to us, lucky to be able to speak to him once a month

Hardly ever had supervision, notes were altered afterwards.

There is a bullying environment regarding support workers from senior staff

Training is poor. One person on a course stated that ‘people with mental health never get better’ WHAT???

Clients are ignored and bullied by staff, medication was often binned when forgotten.

The service I worked at had 3 LAST CHANCES by CQC to change over a period of 2 years.

Listen, a job is a job, we all have bills to pay but Id rather be on the dole than working here again. All of the positive reviews are written by management to make this mess of a company look better.

Any REAL support worker would leave.

Ignoring clients needs while completing paper work, faking smiles and ticking boxes IS NOT support work.

We are not here to make money for your company.


The most recent comments

7th April 2016


Former Employee – Support Worker in Bolton, England

Doesn’t Recommend

Negative Outlook


No Pros but I have to fill this damn word count. Still got nine words to go, this should do.


Minimum wage – I understand as a support worker you do it to help people, but at the end of the day there’s no sane person that would willingly put themselves through the stress of possible attack for minimum wage.

Poor Management – Managers are keen to tell staff what they’re doing wrong (must be easy sat behind a desk) but hardly ever offer advice or plans to implement to help. Bunch of clowns.

Advice to Management

Form stronger bonds with your staff.

Be supportive and helpful.




There were non–, terrible company.


Lack of support.

Concerns were not taken seriously

Safeguarding issues

No on call support

No support plans in services

Meds errors

Unhappy staff

Not enough staff

Rubbish training

NAPPI training is classed as non violent but it was the most violent form of intervention I’ve ever done

Advice to Management

This company is a disgrace and downright criminal in some respects. Needs shutting down.

The only comment found, from the family of a supported person on NHS Choices webpage 


My family have experienced Lifeways Assisted Living over the past two years.

They have had a high turn over of staff, inconsistent management, expecting a minimum level of staff to cover long periods of time, although the time is allocated to the service users(residents) by Social Services. They do not seem to recognise quality staff, loosing many who were valued by the residents & their families, making it very confusing and disruptive for the residents home life.

Over the past year Commisioning and Safe Guarding have been brought in by Social Services

Lifeways seem to miss one vital point, that this is their home somewhere they should feel safe and secure.

We can only assume from our experience Lifeways only think about their bottom line.

We put out trust in this company to care for a member of our family, we are very upset, disappointed and worried about what the future holds.

Posted on 22 November 2015

These comments show what venture capital, unaccountable, monopoly all for profit service is, and contrasts starkly with the Company’s honed, glossy PR the only public information available.

Why are such services allowed to exist unchecked, unregulated.?

Because effectively, the commissioner, regulator would be liable for them, if they were in adequate and the services are in secret, users cannot complain,  nor sue, or remove their custom.

Report for venture capital investors in such supported/community living of which Lifeways owned 10% of in 2011 and in 2014 was taken over by Cambian that now owns far more. see page 16 para 3.

Here is a video of Thomas Rawnsley. shortly before he died in a Lifeways Supported Living ‘home’ of ‘natural causes’.

















  1. Very one sided and after a full investigation, I am aware most of the comments posted on various recruitment web sites, are from one or two people, in particular a male former employee who was dismissed for gross misconduct.

    Your ‘blog’ is not useful, as you clearly don’t offer a constructive report, instead you presume everything written by ‘former employee’ must be accurate.

    I would suggest you research fully before positing things. As a parent of an autistic son, I am appalled by the ‘arrogance’ of other parents with autistic sons or daughters, you are a parent like many millions of other people, that is all, nothing special or deserving of more credit, so please come off your high horse.


  2. Yet still these support workers “will” support the devious Council and “lie” in statements/reports to “keep the vulnerable detained” and severe Family ties. They made “false” statements but the Judge accepted it and used it as evidence. We never has an opportunity to question them about the vile remarks. They blamed my VIP for becoming Obese. They were uncaring and once I pull up on them.. I became ‘the enemy of the state”. And this is the system the COP embraces and believes it is in our loved one’s Best Interests.


  3. A dreadful hell on Earth place my daughter was sent there and I have all the files to prove it. I can only thoroughly agree with the comments in Finola’s blog and I have other letters from other parents who also experienced terrible treatment – sorry Paul Davies but I have all the file records to support my claims .


    1. Thank you Sue for your comment it is very much appreciated .

      It is clear we have evidence of the inadequate services of Cambian, originally Lifeways services, now owned by Universal Health Services that also owns Cygnet Hospitals.

      We also have the story of Thomas Rawnsley who died at 20 in their enforced ‘care’ in Sheffield..

      What we do not have, is evidence of why such services are commissioned by the NHS CCGs as provided by the NHS Health and Social Care Trusts.

      And why £4,500, often far far more based on the deemed severity/complexity of a residence’s needs per week is being spent on such services.

      Nor why the service user, nor their families are given any control, information or choice in these services.

      Nor why there is no accountability for them, nor oversight of them from the LA/NHS who commission them.

      Nor, it would appear from anyone.

      Even the on paper generalised reports of CQC are ignored.


      1. I’d like to know how much all the court cases/tribunals have cost my local area and feel that the course of justice has been ignored.

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