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Fact sheet

Key Policy Documents

This is an overview of the key policy documents which address carers' issues in England, Wales and Scotland. Details of the UK Government’s Carers’ Strategy are available here


Supporting Carers; the Case for Change (Jul 2011)

This report reviews the evidence of the comparable poor health of carers, how support can improve their health and wellbeing and how supporting carers can reduce demand on health and social care services. Evidence is cited showing that providing carers with breaks, emotional support and access to training can delay the need for residential care of the person they are caring for.

It analyses potential cost savings available to the NHS and councils and how carers are key to people achieving independence.

Government Vision for Adult Social Care (Nov 2010)

The Government declared that "carers are the first line of prevention" and as such need to be properly identified and supported. Councils should offer support to prevent needs and demand on statutory services escalating. They also advise that young carers should not be asked to provide inappropriate levels of care.

A summary of the Vision is available here (265 KB)

Government wants everybody eligible for personal budgets to have one by March 2013. The Government advises that part of fairness is supporting carers and giving more carers "direct payments for breaks from care".

The Government lists seven principles: Prevention, Personalisation, Partnerships, Plurality of service providers, Protection (safeguarding), Productivity, and People who are skilled.

ADASS: Carers and Safeguarding (Apr 2011)

This guidance by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services considers how to protect carers from abuse and neglect, and also how to prevent cases where the carer is overloaded which can result in neglect of the person needing care. ADASS advise Local Safeguarding Boards and Health and Wellbeing Boards should work with carers’ organisations to ensure carers are treated as partners in care and are properly supported to prevent safeguarding issues.

A summary of the report is available here (222 KB)

Guidance on Eligibility Criteria (Fair Access to Care Services)(Feb 2010)

Carers and other close family members should be involved in full discussions that take into account their views of the person’s needs and their contribution to that person’s support needs should be recorded. There should be no assumptions about the propensity of family members to provide care.

Carers should be involved and agreement sought throughout the assessment process and support plans should also record what carers are willing and able to provide. The DH emphasise that Primary Care Trusts should advise carers that they can refer them to the local authority for an assessment. Regarding assessments of carers, there is a table describing what would constitute a critical, substantial, moderate or low risk for carers.
Government advises that advocacy, support and brokerage are key components in creating choice and control, and effective use of personal budgets. A summary is available here (120 KB)

Further resources:

Think Local, Act Personal (Nov 2010)

This was developed by a partnership of statutory sector and voluntary sector organisations including: Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission, the Local Government Group and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

It is an agreement to moving forward with personalisation and community-based support and provides a general framework for action; supported in the next few months by examples to assist partners in benchmarking progress, and by co-designed tools to aid delivery. There is a website with resources and guidance.

The Social Care Institute of Excellence also produces SCIE practice guides.

The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 Principle 7 explores the concept of respect for carers. Section 228 provides for an assessment of carers’ needs where required.

Care 21 Report - The Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland 2006

The Scottish equivalent is the Care 21 Report - The Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland 2006. One of its recommendations is a Carers’ Rights Charter for Scotland.Care 21 applies in Scotland. It includes a recommendation for a Carers’ Rights Charter for Scotland.

View more policy documents for England and Wales and Scotland.