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Fact sheet

Current Social Care Policy

In England, current policy specifically focussing on carers is based upon the refreshed Carers’ Strategy which was published in November 2010. A summary of the strategy is available here. The priority given by Government to supporting carers is reflected in the inclusion of carers in wider social care policy.
The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework

How well councils are performing in social care will be measured against a set of measures in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework. Four of the indicators are specifically related to carers:

  • Carer reported quality of life
  • Carer satisfaction with support services they or the person they care for receive
  • Carers being treated as partners in care
  • Ease for carers to access information and advice

See our summary (285 KB) for more information on these indicators, and others that are relevant to carers.

Much of the information used to calculate performance against these indicators will be gathered through surveys of service users and carers. The questions for carers will be taken from a survey of carers completed in 2009/10. Using the results from that 2009/10 survey, we have compiled tables showing council performance against the four indicators above.
Carer Reported Quality Of Life 2009 10 (145 KB)
Carer Satisfaction With Services 2009 10 (147 KB)
Carers Accessing Information Advice 2009 10 (147 KB)
Carers As Partners In Care 2009 10 (145 KB)

Reforming the Social Care system in England

The Coalition Government is considering reforming social care in England creating a commission to investigate options. The Commission for the Funding of Care and Support, commonly called the Dilnot Commission, reported in July 2011 of which a summary can be found here (229 KB). In brief, the Commission recommended:

Dilnot Commission
1. The lifetime contribution to adult social care costs that any individual needs to make should be a maximum capped at between £25,000 and £50,000. The Commission believes that £35,000 is an appropriate and fair figure.
2. Those who developed needs aged between 40 and 49 would have a cap/maximum liability of £10,000. For those aged 50 to 59, this would rise to £20,000; £30,000 for those aged 60 to 64 before reaching the limit of a £35,000 cap for those aged 65+. Any adult aged under 40 should be eligible for non-means tested free support.
3. Consistent with rising property values, the asset threshold for those in residential care below which they will qualify for means-tested support should increase from £23,250 to £100,000.
4. There should be national eligibility criteria, and set at a minimum of substantial.
5. There should be a national eligibility framework for carers and councils would be required to meet the eligible needs of carers.

Regarding financing social care, the Commission stated:
"Without extra resources, people are not going to get the care that they need, the quality of support is likely to decline and extra pressure will be placed on other services. The Government should ensure that there is sufficient, and sustainable, funding for local authorities so that they are able to manage existing pressures as well as the new requirements as a result of our reforms."

The Law Commission also reported in May 2011 proposing a set of reforms. More information is available here

Scottish Guidance and useful links

National Carers Strategy for Scotland
Report on the Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland
Guidance on the Community Care and Health (S) Act 2002
Scottish Government press release explaining the rights of carers under the Community Care and Health Act 2002
Improving Care for Older People. This report offers examples of good practice across Scotland, in meeting the needs of older adults and their carers.
Highland Council website on benefits entitlements
Money matters website for Scotland
Short guide to the Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (S) Act 2003
Information for those who care for someone affected by the Mental Health legislation
Information and guidance for young carers in Scotland.