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CARERS STRATEGY 20XX ? All The Build Up To The Non Event Of This Decade ? A White Flag Raised Even Before It's Announced - Page 9 - Carers UK Forum

CARERS STRATEGY 20XX ? All The Build Up To The Non Event Of This Decade ? A White Flag Raised Even Before It's Announced

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
125 posts
Time to get this thread ... and it's evil twin ... back on display near to the top.

A whole generation of family carers awaits it's fate ... being decided by others.
Melanie Henwood , via the LSE , has her pound's worth :


http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolic ... tion-plan/

While the Carers Action Plan is welcome, it is not good enough in itself.


Two years after the government consulted on the next steps for a Carers Strategy, the Department of Health and Social Care has published its ‘Carers Action Plan’.

Melanie Henwood explains that, although this provides some assurance to carers that they are on the government’s agenda, the action plan must be followed through with demonstrable objectives in the forthcoming green paper.

On June 5, Caroline Dinenage, the Minister of State for Social Care published a cross-government ‘Carers Action Plan 2018-2020’ and stated it was “an essential step towards realising the Government’s commitment to value, recognise and support carers.”

Almost 20 years ago, in 1999, the first National Carers Strategy was published and focused on improving the quality of life for ‘informal’ (mainly family) carers through improved information, support, and care. The idea of a strategy was widely welcomed and seen as a step beyond the warm words and platitudes which politicians often relied on when acknowledging the vital role of carers to supporting people in the community.

In 2006 a ‘New Deal for Carers’ was promised, and the updated strategy was published in 2008. By 2018, the vision of this document was that carers would be universally recognised and valued as fundamental to strong families and communities, and specifically:

Support will be tailored to meet individuals’ needs, enabling carers to maintain a balance between their caring responsibilities and a life outside caring, whilst enabling the person they support to be a full and equal citizen.

Few would claim that this vision has been achieved in full. In 2010, the next steps for the carers strategy identified four priority areas for action over the following four years:

identification and recognition of carers;
realising and releasing potential;
a life outside caring;
and supporting carers to stay healthy.

Thereafter, things went rather quiet.

The priorities were ones that commanded general support and consensus, but the idea that they were being driven by a clear strategy was less in evidence.

Fast forward to 2016 and a ‘call for evidence consultation’ was made by the Department of Health to better understand the needs of carers and what might best be done to support them to “enjoy a happy and healthy life alongside caring.” The consultation ended in June 2016 and it was anticipated that an updated version of a national carers strategy would soon follow. It didn’t, despite considerable discussions behind the scenes, rapid research being commissioned to inform developments, and more than 6,800 responses to the consultation. The unexpected General Election in spring 2017 brought further delays with the official purdah and social care suddenly becoming a political hot potato.

A Green Paper on funding adult social care (or more particularly funding older people’s social care) is due ‘before the summer’, and in his first speech on social care in March 2018, Jeremy Hunt announced that a principle for reform would be that carers would be central to the new social care strategy, and ahead of the Green Paper, “we will publish an action plan to support them.” So that document has now been published, and whether it has been worth the two-year wait needs to be questioned. It is a mixed verdict on the evidence to-date.

The Ministerial Foreword provides the assurance that:

the Government recognises that there is still more to do. That is why the needs of carers will also be central to the forthcoming social care green paper. Carers are vital partners in the health and social care system and a sustainable settlement for social care will simply not be possible without focusing on how our society supports carers.


Such a statement is welcome and important, and we must reserve judgement at this stage to see what the green paper will do to deliver this vital support. Meanwhile, the action plan as it stands identifies five priorities emerging from the response to the call for evidence:

Services and systems that work for carers;
Employment and financial wellbeing;
Supporting young carers;
Recognising and supporting carers in the wider community and society;
Building research and evidence to improve outcomes for carers.


The plan goes on to list 64 actions being undertaken across government departments that address the priorities, as it says – giving visibility to the work that is being done or is planned within government. As such, it reads more as a summary list than as an ‘action plan’. There are few surprises here and many of the actions are expressed at a high level of generality and are descriptive.

The carers sector has largely welcomed the publication, particularly the announcement that consideration is to be given to exploring dedicated employment rights for carers, alongside existing employment rights, to ensure that any proposals for carers leave are effective and robust. The announcement of a Carers Innovation Fund to develop and promote “creative and cost-effective models that look beyond statutory services to develop carer friendly communities” has also been welcomed.

However, the issue of additional resources to fund support for carers is conspicuously absent, and has been greeted with disappointment by the sector. Similarly, some groups of carers have been given greater attention than others, and in some areas – notably with young carers – this might be seen as disproportionate to their numbers.

Certainly the needs of older carers, especially of spouse and partner carers who are often providing mutual support in an increasingly fragile arrangement, remain relatively overlooked and poorly understood by comparison.


The fact that the plan is a cross-departmental document with multiple ministerial signatories is positive and recognition that a commitment to carers has to go beyond health and social care. The Minister for Care is to be responsible for reviewing progress on the commitments in the action plan twice a year, and this too is to be welcomed in giving some ongoing momentum to a strategy that appeared to have stalled.

Successive governments have identified and signed up to the need to recognise, value and support carers. Some of the iterations of the strategies and commitments have been more dynamic and challenging than others, and there are risks that familiar words and concepts fail to offer anything tangible unless accompanied by genuinely ambitious and meaningful aspirations and targets.

The action plan was published just in advance of National Carers Week (11-17 June); it will provide some assurance that carers have not slipped off the ministerial radar, but it will have considerably stoked expectations for more fundamental commitment and demonstrable objectives to be integral to the forthcoming green paper. Without that follow through the action plan will be insufficient, and as Peggy Lee memorably reflected, carers will be left wondering: is that all there is?


Not bad as a summary as to where we are ... in limbo.

FINANCES and FREE / AFFORDABLE SUPPORT SERVICES ... little else would barely touch the surface.

Free public transport ( Via an universal carers' card ) and the 21 Hour Rule are separate issues.

20 years + and ... the same two priorities.

Come the publication of the Green Paper , another ten + years to add on ???
One to keep towards the top ... given it's ramifications for the whole carer army.
Another thread to keep an eye on in line with this one :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... -gap-34158


FINANCES and FREE / AFFORDABLE SUPPORT SERVICES ... everything else pales into significance.

That thread deals with the second ... supporting services ... and the possibility of shortgages of careworkers.
Discrimination against family / kinship carers ?

Yes ... discrimination ... not bias against.

A few to ponder on ahead of the Green Paper ... will any be removed by said Paper ?

CARERS ALLOWANCE ( CA ) ... only benefit that requires the claimant to " Work " ... care ... for a prescribed number of hours per week.

CA ..... eligibility ... any other benefit with a whole tombstone preventing claimant from applying ?

Connected ... CA ... senior citizens carers lose CA when claiming the State Pension ... only benefit to cease when doing so.

CA ... working ... earn over £ 120 per week , and the whole of CA is lost ... no taper ... other benefits also the same ?

21 HOUR RULE ... CA is the only benefit precluding the claimant from studying to improve their future career prospects.

FREE PUBLIC TRANSPORT ... blind person with guide dog ... said hound travels free ... a human carer does not.

FREE CHILD CARE SCHEME ... no equivalent Parent Care Scheme ... working and caring carers with children can take advantage ... working and caring carers with parents cannot ... age discrimination ?

FREE ADMISSION TO VARIOUS EVENTS ... for our carees but NOT the accompaning family / kinship care ... discrimination through disability ... a careee / carer , a partnership ... pushing our caree in a wheelchair an obvious example ?

CHILD CARERS ... not so much discrimination but a whole mengarie of law to be really considered.

( LAs cutting back to the very bone. Child carer's needs ... and rights as a child ... now secondary to budget concerns ? )

Numerous others of somewhat lesser importance ... CA ceasing once our caree stays over 28 days under NHS care being just one ... our Lord Kitch lists them all :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/news-and ... rd%20kitch

Enough to fuel any legal practice itching to take on the Government under the Discriminations laws ... and there have been some interesting and weird cases launched over the years ... disability ones of immediate interest to us as family / kinship carers.

The Government are taking many aspects of social care into consideration before publishing that Green Paper.

In the light of the above , I wonder if the present law relating to US within the ambit of social care will also be considered ?
Another flashback to the past in an attempt to understand the present.

CarerWatch submission on the 21st. Century Consultation back in 2010 ( ? ) ... must of the following is still VERY relevant today :
1. What steps should the Government consider to reduce the cost of the welfare system and reduce welfare dependency and poverty?

1.1 This consultation focuses on work as the route out of poverty. The government should understand that work is not necessarily always going to be an option for people with serious and enduring illness or disability and for many 24/7 carers. These people who face extreme barriers to work seem to have been forgotten in this consultation or shoe horned in to a one-size fits all approach.

1.2 Of course we want the aspiration of work to be open to disabled people and carers but with rising unemployment coupled with cuts to social care support services, realistically how many will find work and how soon? We are concerned that the most severely and enduringly ill people will be subject to threats and sanctions for not finding work and have incomes reduced as a result.

1.3 They are members of the community and entitled to expect support from the state and the government needs to acknowledge this and make it clear that they will still receive support and it will be willingly given. They must not be put under undue pressure or demonised by government policy. Disabled people and carers contribute to society in many ways including paying taxes such as VAT. Please stop endlessly separating them and contrasting them with the rest of the community with statements like “”increase fairness between recipients and the taxpayer”. This demonising has to stop.

1.4 Disability has moved on and the new liberated thinking is that no one is now disabled but differently abled. This means everyone should be respected and able to work if they want to. Help should always be there to help any one with any disability to work.

1.5 So there is no longer a ‘test’ that can determine if someone is fit for work. Everyone is fit for work. Blaming the WCA test is pointless. It just does what it says on the tin and finds everyone fit for work.

1.6 This has confused things because unfortunately sickness, illness, disability, 24/7 caring has not actually been abolished which is what ESA seems to assume. There are many people who still face enormous barriers to work.

1.7 In this situation what people with disability need is control over their options and choices. They need a safe place where they can move on, where they can get back to work help if they want it and where they will not face the anxiety of pressure and sanctions if they can’t find work or don’t feel able to work. ESA does not provide this. ESA only provides the support group where people are written off and a work ready activity group where people come under pressure of sanctions.

1.8 ESA needs to be redesigned with a safe place for people to have a go, take risks, get help but not be pressurised. Disability thinking has moved on and ESA – which could be a very positive and productive response to these changes – is being ruined by the mistaken response of pressurising severely disabled people.

5. Has the Government identified the right set of principles to use to guide reform?

5.1 No. These principles apply to people who are fit for work. One size does not fit all. These principles do not address the situation of people with severe and enduring illness and disability or 24/7 carers. There is no simple ‘test’ that can decide if these people are fit for work.

5.2 There can be no simple fit for work ‘test’ because we now think of disability in a new way. No one is written off. Everyone should always have the option of working and support must always be provided to help them if they choose to try. However, this new great aim of extending opportunities to everyone should not be confused with the idea that sickness and 24/7 caring have now been abolished and work is a realistic option for everyone.

5.3 People facing great difficulty should not be continually pressurised in to working. If they decide that they cannot work at the moment or they are unsuccessful in finding and keeping work they should still receive unconditional support from the community without being made to feel guilty. The problems they face in working are extremely complex and they need to make these decisions for themselves. They need to control their own lives. All forms of pressure may cause them great anxiety and make them more ill and no sanctions or ‘conditionality’ should be applied to them.

5.4 These people seem to have been forgotten in these principles. One size does not fit all.

6. Would an approach along the lines of the models set out in chapter 3 improve work incentives and hence help the Government to reduce costs and tackle welfare dependency and poverty? Which elements would be most successful? What other approaches should the Government consider?

6.1 It is disappointing that no mention is made in these models of DLA

6.2 DLA is an essential benefit that was specifically designed to provide financial support towards the extra costs incurred by people living with a disability. DLA payments have enabled hundreds of thousands of disabled people to maintain a degree of independence and quality of life that would have otherwise been lost to them. Disabled people need DLA to enable them to work, to enable them to look for work and to enable them to live without work.

6.3 One of our members describes how DLA is essential to enable her to work thus – further examples (9) ……

””hello,


I am a disabled person, I work but if it was not for my DLA I would not be able to. It enables me to have personal carers from social services who help me to be up, showered and dressed and breakfasted so I can get to work on time. It enables me to have a car that I need for my job.

DLA also helps me to have extra heating in my home which I need because of my condition, it helps with extra washing costs, delivery of my shopping, ready meals as I am unable to prepare my own, my carers travel costs, the person that cleans for me and someone to maintain my garden etc.

Social services are charging more and more for the services they provide meaning my DLA is not being used for things it was originally intended for when it was introduced – the original concept was for it to cover the extra living costs of being disabled – not tipping it up to pay for care costs – which were not charged for at its inception. Some authorities still do not charge for care but more and more are being squeezed by cuts and are making people use the DLA to pay for care.

If all DLA goes to costs of personal care how do we pay for ready meals, extra heating, washing, cleaning, someone to cut the grass etc?

DLA enables a lot of us to work, if it goes I will be unable to carry on working. If the budget were passed to the local authority I would not be able to carry on working as there would be nothing to go towards the other costs – such as work clothes, lunch for work etc.

The cuts are already hitting. I work for the local authority and am on notice for redundancy for the second time this year. I will be unlikely to get another job due to my disability.

AS A DISABLED PERSON I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING BLAMED FOR ALL SOCIETIES ILLS, AND BEING ACCUSED OF BEING A BURDEN ON SOCIETY!””

6.4 Because Middle and Higher rate DLA are both also passport benefits to enable family members to claim Carers Allowance, removing or reducing DLA will not only have an enormous financial impact on disabled people it will also impact on their carers – a double blow which will especially hit hard those families on the poverty line.

6.5 It is essential that DLA be protected.

7. Do you think we should increase the obligations on benefit claimants who can work to take the steps necessary to seek and enter work?

7.1 These descriptions of ‘conditionality’ are completely inappropriate for people with enduring disability or 24/7 carers. Conditionality for them is cruel and counter productive – it causes stress and anxiety – makes people more ill and less inclined to take risks. What does more pressure add to their situation? The assumption that they have to find a way to work is cruel. Extra pressure can destabilise them with disastrous and expensive consequences.

7.2 This paper has been written with fit people in mind and disabled people are being shoe horned in. Severely disabled people need a safe place to have a go at working but a place where they feel safe from undue pressure if it doesn’t work. The design of the two ESA groups in to ‘support’ and ‘work ready activity’ does not provide this safe place for enduringly disabled people. Neither group provides the right environment for long-term sick or disabled people. One group writes them off and the other group is too pressurised.

7.3 Please design another group where they can have back to work help on request but are not pressurised with conditionality.

8. Do you think that we should have a system of conditionality, which aims to maximise the amount of work a person does, consistent with their personal circumstances?

8.1 For people with disability or carers – a few hours work a week may be therapeutic and any more hours may be dangerous. Certainly in the case of schizophrenia this is often true.

8.2 Supported permitted work was designed for this situation and it is essential to continue this option. Endless pressure to work more and more is cruel. This paper seems to be designed for fit people. People with disability have been subsumed in to the model for fit people.

10. The Government is committed to delivering more affordable homes. How could reform best be implemented to ensure providers can continue to deliver the new homes we need and maintain the existing affordable homes?

10.1 Please do not reduce housing benefit for disabled people and their carers. Please think about the stress and anxiety and unintended consequences of forcing disabled people and their carers out of their homes

10.2 Will you understand how destabilising this would be to people who rely on

Local social and caring networks that may take a long time to build up. Unfortunately attacks on disabled people are far too frequent and they benefit from a safe

Neighbour-hood, which in our society may mean a more expensive neighbourhood.

12. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the proposals in this document?

12.1 Carer Watch members are outraged that the government has failed to address the issues surrounding carers benefits in this 21st Century Welfare paper. We are astounded that no discussion about said benefits even takes place.

12.2 Carer Watch does not believe there is a place for carers in any of the proposed models for reform mentioned in this paper.

12.3 We believe that carer’s valuable social input should be recognised by keeping carer benefits separate from the rest of the benefit system.

12.4 Carers have to provide a minimum of 35 hours a week care in order to qualify for Carers Allowance; care that would otherwise have to be provided by state-funded social care staff at a considerably higher cost to the taxpayer.

12.5 Put simply, without carers our NHS and social care system would collapse.

12.6 Despite warm words from politicians praising the amazing work that carers do, the reality is that the government does not value carers or caring. Carers Allowance is the lowest earnings replacement benefit at just £53.10 a week.

12.7 A study by Carers UK (5) shows that three quarters of carers struggle to pay essential bills and more than half of them are in debt. Delaying dealing with carer benefits will impose further hardship on present and future carers.

12.8 Recent research by The Princess Royal Trust for carers showed results wherein many carers’ battle poverty and depression (6)

12.9 Carer Watch find it deeply offensive that the recent consultation by the Department of Health, Refresh of the Carers Strategy (7) ruled out the discussion of carers’ finances, as it would be addressed in this paper. “The Government recognises that the issue of carers’ benefits is important and will consider this area separately under plans to simplify and modernise the benefit system.” Therefore we were appalled and angry that once again carers have been ignored.

12.10 Since the Coalition government came to power there have been repeated requests asking their intentions towards Carers Allowance (8). All have been met with a wall of silence.

That silence needs be broken now and carers demand to be informed as to the Coalition governments’ plans regarding Carers Allowance.


Unfortunately ... for 7.8 million family / kinship carers ... CarerWatch ceased to function as a unit some years ago.

No one has stepped into that breach beyond me ... a poor substitute when compared with the combined minds of those of us within CarerWatch during it's existence.
Interlocking threads yet again ?

A link to the BIBLE on Carer income ... and the related benefits available ... Parliamentary Select Committee Report back in 2007 ... yes , 11 years ago :

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/c ... /48506.htm

FULL chapter and verse on ALL aspects of CA and the qualifying criteria.

If , and a bif IF , the powers to be are to look at these issues again as part of the Green Paper , this is the document that will be used for reference purposes.

I CANNOT OVEREMPHASIS THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS DOCUMENT ... IT'S WORTH READING BY ALL READERS.
Another " Bible " to be added to our collection.

Parliamentary Briefing Paper on Carers Allowance ... 18 July 2018 ... in .pdf format.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... LT-s-DO9E1

Clicking on the link will ask you to open ... Adobe Reader recommended.

In essence , the most upto date and comprehensive document on CA there is ... without exception !

Brew some strong coffee and prepare yourself to read.

A lot of questions arise from this Report ... and a lot of answers are provided.

Now posted on several , current , interlocking threads.
Just to summarise what " The Street " needs from the Green Paper :

1. Monies ... to eat / or heat / or keep a roof of some sort over one's head ... for many , to make that daily choice a little easier.

( Even doubling CA will still leave many with that choice ... Eligibility also important but , given rate of CA , same problem as with doubling CA. )

2. Support ... bearing mind around half ( 3.9 million or so ) will be below / at / close to the Official Poverty Line ... affordable / free support.

( Support ... without our Number One priority , how does one buy in support ? )

If either , or both , are NOT forthcoming , said Green Paper will go down as a BETRAYAL of family / kinship carers.

#####################################################################################

Irony ... how many family / kinship carers in " The Street " even know of the Green Paper ... and it's implications ? ... their existence / future being decided by others ?

Alright for anyone reading this thread but ... for them ?

All down to ( 1 ) identifying carers and ( 2 ) providing them with information.

Both subject to separate threads ... surprise , surprise ?


Caring / trench warfare ... like sending a carer over the top without even a rifle ?

CUK's response ?

" We give out as many rifles ( Leaflets ) as we can ... one for every 650 ... or so ! "

I rest my case ... for now.
Had to concede defeat to off forum pressure ... some mean looking dudes out there.

New " Street " name for the Green Paper ... GREEN RIZLA PAPER !

All the benefits for family / kinship carers could be written on the back of one ?

And , just as easily rolled up and thrown in the bin ... before being delivered ?

We shall see ...

Possibly a king sized one but the odds are heavily in favour of the standard size.
125 posts