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One Leader or Team Work? - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

One Leader or Team Work?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Well said Annie---you got it spot on!!
the problem with the national arm of CUK seems to be that it is incapable of lobbying strongly and therefore effectively and that it has a nasty habit of endorsing government proposals that don't even begin to deliver, can anyone wonder that so many carers feel frustrated with having a body that maintains it's the voice of carers yet routinely fails to either convey the views and concerns of carers or achieve change.
Personally I think this is a bit harsh - but the organisation is and always has been wide open to criticism and different views, and I'm sure your opinion will be listened to. Carers UK was founded from anger and frustration right from its earlies days, and is highly regarded by other charities and lobbying organisations because it has been much more effective in securing legislative change and influencing policy than any other disability charity I can think of. 20 years ago carers were virtually invisible, hardly mentioned in legislation and policy terms. Respite and benefits were almost non-existent. Now we are a force to be reckoned with and - hundreds of millions of pounds will actually make a difference - albeit not nearly as much as we would like.

The division - if there is one - between rank and file and Trustees - consists largely of different linguistic manners and conventions rather than any real substance.
Grassroots carers call a a spade a spade, politicians and lobbyists use the term "agricultural implement".
To express "disappointment" in terms of a response to a government policy announcement is the polite equivalent of saying "it stinks".

A two pronged approach to lobbying actually helps - Carers UK gets more bargaining strength around the committee table if they are seen as the moderate voice of reason, whilst its our job to make as much noise as possible in the constituencies and generally use the media and letters to MPs to make it clear the true strength of feeling.
Rob, it may sound harsh but its past the fancy talk stage of calling a spade an agricultural implement,and direct talking to achieve direct action.
We were pussy footing about for long enough waiting for the anouncement, to say it was disapointing is a gross understatement. Nobody was expecting miracles or a quick fix, but we were looking at positive plans being put into place for Carers long term future. This was not done, there is no money or any of the other things Carers had brought to the attention of the relevant ministers during the consultation exercises.
After the announcement Carers are concerned for their futures and have completely lost faith in the CUK's ability to represent us properly. Do you blame them?,
To coin a phrase from a close Irish friend of mines its all a complete and utter boloxs!
the problem with the national arm of CUK seems to be that it is incapable of lobbying strongly and therefore effectively and that it has a nasty habit of endorsing government proposals that don't even begin to deliver, can anyone wonder that so many carers feel frustrated with having a body that maintains it's the voice of carers yet routinely fails to either convey the views and concerns of carers or achieve change.
Personally I think this is a bit harsh - but the organisation is and always has been wide open to criticism and different views, and I'm sure your opinion will be listened to. Carers UK was founded from anger and frustration right from its earlies days, and is highly regarded by other charities and lobbying organisations because it has been much more effective in securing legislative change and influencing policy than any other disability charity I can think of. 20 years ago carers were virtually invisible, hardly mentioned in legislation and policy terms. Respite and benefits were almost non-existent. Now we are a force to be reckoned with and - hundreds of millions of pounds will actually make a difference - albeit not nearly as much as we would like.

The division - if there is one - between rank and file and Trustees - consists largely of different linguistic manners and conventions rather than any real substance.
Grassroots carers call a a spade a spade, politicians and lobbyists use the term "agricultural implement".
To express "disappointment" in terms of a response to a government policy announcement is the polite equivalent of saying "it stinks".

A two pronged approach to lobbying actually helps - Carers UK gets more bargaining strength around the committee table if they are seen as the moderate voice of reason, whilst its our job to make as much noise as possible in the constituencies and generally use the media and letters to MPs to make it clear the true strength of feeling.
I'm afraid I disagree, CUK's method of representing the needs of carers to government and the public and achieving change hasn't been particularly sucessful.

If we look at the major achievements of CUK over the past 40 plus years I believe that there has only been one that has made a substantial and radical change to carers' lives, the gaining of the right to be paid Invalid Care Allowance, now Carers' Allowance. But that was 40 years ago when fewer women worked and was intended to compensate single women who cared for elderly parents for the lack of opportunity to make an independent living, the world is now a very different place both socially and economically and both women and men find themselves having to give up work or effectively come out of retirement to take up the caring role yet few of the approximately 6 million carers actually qualify for what has become a totally inadequate income and insufficient to ensure economic and personal wellbeing.

The two other achievements I'm sure that CUK would cite as major breakthroughs are the statutory right to a carers' assessment and the statutory right to request flexible working and admittedly for some carers these rights have transformed their lives but for the vast majority they have made little if any difference. The statutory right to a carers' assessment doesn't carry a concomitant statutory right to services if certain criteria are met and the statutory right to request flexible working doesn't carry the statutory right to actually be granted flexible working unless good reason can be given to deny it. Without these additional statutory rights the rights that do exist have no worth to the majority of carers, the job is unfinished yet CUK appears to have moved on satisfied with what they have achieved.

I believe that CUK has yet to find the right method of communicating with government, the general public and, perhaps most importantly, carers. And communicating is a two-way exercise, it requires listening as well as speaking and CUK has failed to listen to the views of carers and then carry those views to the negotiating table. Imelda Redmond's, and this is not intended as a personal but as a corporate criticism, introduction on YouTube to the launch of the carers' strategy at No. 10 gave entirely the wrong message to government, public and carers, it denoted approval of the overall strategy, by the time that CUK came out with the statement that it was disappointed with the lack of change to Carers Allowance it was too late, the message was there for all to see, carers were getting a good, a fair, deal when nothing could be further from the truth.

It is, of course, essential for an organisation set up to represent the interests of a particular group to be able to maintain a working relationship with government but the way in which that group's interests are communicated is one of the keys to success and although I don't believe that aggressive lobbying achieves anything other than alienation I do nevertheless believe that it is possible to lobby forcefully with a firmness and persistence that CUK appears to lack rather than appear to acquiesce and then later express dissatisfaction with something they have to all intents and purposes been one of the architects of. Other representative groups have, as a last recourse, publically left the negotiating table rather than appear to endorse government policy that doesn't serve the best interests of those they represent, whilst not suggesting that CUK should act in the same way, these organisations have succeeded in retaining the respect of their constituent groups and, by thier actions, publicised the issues that effect the people they represent, potentially gaining more public recognition and sympathy and therefore changing the negotiating climate.
I thought i was going to have my care work recognised with an O,B.E. at least however GORDON has not pulled any punches with his e-mails to me even though iam his best new friend he`s told Mrs QUEEN no gongs for georgie boy .
I wonder if any care worker will get gong ? Image Image Image
If they do i bet they say its not just for me but for all carers Image

GEORGE======
Very well said Parsifal. Wish I could've expressed my thoughts & feelings so well as my intent was not to offend or lay blame with CUK or its chief executive, but to question tactics & responses.

All charities exist to help those who are vulnerable & struggling for one reason or another. If their track record shows little or no success, something has to change to improve outcomes.

It's now 2008 & they're talking of yet another "10yr plan" to help Carers. It's more of the same ole same ole BS.

The following is from January 1999 taken from:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsand ... DH_4006522

Caring about carers: a national strategy for carers

The government wish to acknowledge the value of carers in the community by offering information, support and care to the carers. There will be special provision to help carers in employment and young carers. All will be helped by the legislation and financial measures to be put in place. It is recognised that a break from their responsibility is essential to enable carers to continue caring. These elements, forming the National Strategy for Carers, are described and attention is drawn to key points. Three appendices detail helplines, good practice for service providers and local authority support by area.

* Download Caring about carers a national strategy for carers (PDF, 403K)