Page 1 of 4
Keep counting carers
Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:48 am
One of the most important campaign wins Carers Uk ever achieved was to get a question about caring put onto the 2001 census. It might not seem like much but this was an incredibly important milestone - prior to this the government had no idea how many carers there were in the country, where they lived etc. The census information has proved invalauable, especially to local service providers who can find out exactly how many carers live in each area.
The Office of National Statistics (who carry out the census) are planning to reduce the size of the next census to 3 pages, this means that after all the usual questions like age, gender etc there is only half a page left for other questions. This means that we are at risk of losing the question about carers. I can't stress how important this is in terms of campaigning and getting the evidence we need about carers' lives.
We are asking everyone to write a letter to the Office of National Statistics and copy in the minister for carers. I know not everyone has the time so alternatively tell us your thoughts here on this forum thread and with your permission we can use them in any further submissions we make about this issue.
Please take a minute to read the page at
http://www.carersuk.org/Newsandcampaign ... tingCarers
April 1st was 12 days
Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 8:30 pm
April 1st was 12 days ago. How many can remember what the question was?
If the biggest thing CUK has done is get a question on a census 6 years ago then CUK haven't done anything much the rest of the time. No one in our home filled in a census in 2001 the dog made a jigsaw of it.
The census is a waste of time it only started to record where people lived and the occupation and other basic info not the over inflated form it turned into.
The census finally proved how
Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:12 pm
The census finally proved how many carers there are (although some still were not recorded, I'll bet) and surprised the government in two areas:
the number of young carers - 3 times the government estimate
the number of carers providing more than 50 hrs a week - double the government estimates
We need to keep the question and ideally ask another: do you have contact with social services? That will give an idea of the scale of unsupported carers. I'm prepared to bet that one would be a real frightener.
The census finally proved how
Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:26 pm
[quote]The census finally proved how many carers there are (although some still were not recorded, I'll bet) and surprised the government in two areas]
We need to keep the
Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:24 am
We need to keep the question and ideally ask another]
I guess that makes me an unsupported carer as I will do anything in my power to keep away from social services. Look on any forum, how often do we get a good result from these people without wearing ourselves out doing it?
Also, as it was 6 years ago, I don't know how the question was worded, so if as many people now as then do not regard themselves as carers, they will still not get counted. Those of us who accept we ARE carers will put that down as our occupation.
Anything to do with the government is all in the wording and how they chose to manipulate the statistics.
Disillusioned?? You bet
I understand your disillusionment:
Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:50 am
I understand your disillusionment: I go through that myself more often than I care to admit.
But if we don't try, nothing changes.
I'm biased over social services because of working at a carers centre: by definition, the vast majority of carers who contact us have been failed by the system, or feel that they have. Which amounts to much the same thing. But we don't hear from every carer, so I don't know how many have received a good service: I have come across a few on my travels, so it does happen.
As far as the last census was concerned, the question asked about "looking after" rather than "caring" or we'd have seen a lot fewer people on the census. But I wonder how many didn't answer because they were worried that the authorities would use it against them somehow, or interfere where they were not needed. Personally, I wonder if the figures are much higher - especially around young carers?
As far as the last
Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:17 pm
As far as the last census was concerned, the question asked about "looking after" rather than "caring" or we'd have seen a lot fewer people on the census. But I wonder how many didn't answer because they were worried that the authorities would use it against them somehow, or interfere were they were not needed. Personally, I wonder if the figures are much higher - especially around young carers?
I expect a lot of people didn't answer, simply for that reason. What we want is a service that helps (that'll be the day) when we need it and gives a good result, not one that interferes, especially round young carers.
Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:23 am
I go along with what Matt says, any info is better than none. The trouble is that the census is only taken every TEN years.
Other statistics suggest the average Carer, cares for only three years. So what we get from the census is a snap shot on average, of every third generation of Carers. The others being unrecorded by the census.
Other social surveys are conducted more frequently, and are used by government to project Social Trends. Although the data is less comprehensive than a full census it seems to work as a management guide to where resources should be targeted.
More useful information would be gained by a question on the Council Tax return forms, which could then be used to inform Social services of the whereabouts of 'hidden Carers', and hopefully these people may then be encouraged to contact their local Carer group.
best wishes normangardner
Just thought I should
Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:11 pm
Just thought I should point out that it is actually illegal not to complete your census form!
The census is compulsory by law although certain questions such as religion are optional, you must complete all of the other questions. Failure to complete it can result in a fine, and according the census website "a limited number of people were prosecuted for failing to comply with this obligation" in 2001, although I'm guessing by some of the responses here that it is only a random sample and not widely enforced.
Whatever the shortcomings might be, it remains the most reliable method we have of identifying crucial information about caring, which as Charles has pointed out was almost always underestimated by government prior to the census.
Of course getting people to recognise they are caring is by no means foolproof, that's why the question didn't ask "are you a carer". I dug out the actual question, which was
"Do you look after or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours, or others because of
- long term physical or mental ill-health or disability
- or problems related to old age.
(Do not count anything you do as part of your paid employment)"
It then asked the person to estimate how many hours a week this was for.
Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:05 pm
Everyon who uses census data as part of their work recognises its shortcomings, especially in areas of multi-occupation, high immigration, squats etc..
As this data is used in part to formulate social policy the most vulnerable sections of society tend to lose out and be under represented in the figures. Carers are probably high on the deprivation index according to the dasta I have seen, but I have never done a respectable comparative study of this area. Food for somone's Ph.D. perhaps ?
When I was working in this area I always took the perhaps unchartitable view that those who were under represented by the Census and lost out as a result of their failure to fill in the form have no reason to complain. However in retrospect, having been a Carer for five years, between Censuses. I have not been counted as a Carer by the tool which government statisticians may rely on. The only stats which picked me up were the Carer's Allowance ones despite the fact that I never got it because I have a pension and it was an underlying benefit.
On a historical note, the idea of a census was mooted during Britain's wars with Napoleon, in order to assess the potential size of the British army. The government of the time quashed the idea, because if Napoleon ever discovered reliable figures for the size of the British army, he would have no second thoughts about invading Britian with an army sufficient for the purpose. It was 1841 before the first tentative steps were taken and 1851 before a reasonably reliable census was imposed on us bolshie British. Who have been compaining about the infringement on our rights and liberty ever since. But it is still here !
best wishes normangardner