Briefing 234

June 2018

Carers Action Plan 2018 - 2020 Supporting Carers Today

 

Introduction

This briefing provides a short summary of the Carers Action Plan. http://qna.files.parliament.uk/ws-attachments/917240/original/180605%20Carers%20Action%20
Plan.pdf

The government published its Carers Action Plan policy 2018-2020 for England on 5th June.  It sets out the practical actions the government plan to take over the next 2 years to ensure the delivery of the programme of work on carers.  It will build on the Carers Strategy of 2015 that aims to look at the best of international practice and examines what more needs to be done to support the existing and new carers that will be needed.  There will be no separate national carers strategy.  The needs of carers will be central to the forthcoming social care green paper setting out long-term sustainable solutions for the social care system. The Carers Action Plan was informed by views from 6,802 people including those with direct experience as part of the Carers Strategy call for evidence 2016. A summary of the responses to this consultation is published alongside the action plan Carers Call for Evidence 2016 - Government response to the carers call for evidence (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/carers-strategy-call-for-evidence).

Aims of the Carers Action Plan

  • Puts a focus on current delivery and what is being done or is planned within government.
  • “Caring is everyone’s business”- to look for solutions to include businesses, local communities, the voluntary sectors and  individuals;
  • Support carers so they can gain employment, learn the skills they need to succeed and feel supported by the communities they live in;
  • Increase the number of employers who are aware of caring and the impact this has on their workforce;
  • Support health and social care professionals to be better at identifying, valuing and working with carers;
  • Improve access to appropriate support for carers, including respite care and carers breaks;
  • Improve the evidence base on carers to inform future policy and decisions;
  • Ensure that the needs of carers are recognised in relevant government strategies such as ‘Fuller Working Lives’,’ Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability’;
  • Carers are recognised in a broad sense to avoid people not getting the recognition and support they need.

Background

  • The Care Act 2014 brought in new legal rights for carers to an assessment of, and support for, their needs where eligible; and
  • The Children and Families Act 2014 extended the right to a needs assessment to all young carers regardless of who they care for or the type of care provided.  This means that when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family will be considered, triggering both children’s and adult’s support services.

Themes That Emerged

There are 5 primary themes identified to raise awareness and improve the identification of carers so that their views are appropriately taken into account.

Chapter 1: Services and Systems that Work for Carers

Main Points 

  • Carers having their expertise recognised by services in the health and social care system.
  • Flexible and responsive systems and services to ensure they support the diversity of carers and their circumstances as there is no such thing as a “typical carer”.
  • Carers valued inexpensive opportunities for respite such to help balance life outside caring.

Carers Entitlements Under 2014 Care Act and 2014 Children and Families Act

Actions:

  • Sector-led improvement programme of work in implementing the Care Act duties for carers.
  • Project to promote best practice for LAs, CCGs and other service providers and commissioners on carer breaks and respite care. 
  • Project to support parent carers navigate the transition from child to adult services.

Personalisation - individuals can access services in a way that is personal to them

Actions:

Carers of People Subject to the Mental Health Act 1983

Action:

  • Independent review of the MHA to consider how to improve dignity and respect for service users and carers and how those involved in the support of people detained can be supported.

Chapter 2: Employment and Financial Wellbeing

  • 1 in 9 people are also carers (Census, 2011) and many face difficulties balancing work and performing a caring role.
  • Importance for employers to support working carers and a desire for more flexible working.
  • Importance of financial support and advice.

Chapter 3: Supporting Young Carers

Main Points

  • Improving the identification of young carers; ensure health and wellbeing and improving their education opportunities and outcomes; providing support to young carers, particularly to vulnerable children; and improving access to services.
  • Effective approaches to transition assessments to support young adult carers.
  • Research to ensure the development of future policies are informed by a strong evidence base.

Chapter 4: Recognising and Supporting Carers in the Wider Community and Society

Main Points

  • Raise awareness in the wider population to build carer-friendly communities that recognise carers, and better support them, including in employment and in combating loneliness.
  • Innovation - working creatively to support carers looking beyond statutory services.
  • Improved use of assistive technology will benefit those who are providing care.

Chapter 5: Building Research and Evidence to Improve Outcomes for Carers

  • Strengthen the information on unpaid carers to make sure future policies are informed by a strong evidence base.
  • Strengthen areas where gaps were identified through the Call for Evidence.
  • Take into account the wide range of caring roles provided by unpaid carers.

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