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National Carers Strategy

The development of a new strategy for carers was announced by the Secretary of State for Health on 1st July 2015. But what are our top recommendations for the Carers Strategy and when will it be published?

In developing a new strategy, the Government have stated:

We think that we need a new strategy for carers that sets out how more can be done to support them. It needs to reflect their lives now, their health and financial concerns, and give them the support they need to live well while caring for a family member or friend.

The Strategy is being led by the Department of Health, however it has a cross-Government remit. 

As part of the development of the new Strategy, the Department of Health asked carers, and organisations who work with carers, to input into a call for evidence. This closed on 31st July 2016.

There were over 6,000 submissions, around 80% of which were from carers.

What is the latest?

Following the election, the new Government has yet to confirm when a strategy will be published. Carers UK is disappointed that there has not yet been a response from Government to the submissions made by so many carers, nor a commitment to publication of the strategy.

The new Government has a good opportunity to demonstrate its understanding and commitment to carers by publishing the strategy, providing leadership to others engaged in this including local government, the  NHS, employers and charities; and demonstrating the actions it is taking across Government to support carers.

Carers UK has written to the Jackie Doyle-Price MP, the Department of Health Minister responsible for the Strategy asking for a meeting and an update on the Government’s plans.

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Carers UK’s response to the Strategy call for evidence

Carers UK submitted extensive evidence to the call for evidence based directly on carers’ experiences. This included using data and feedback from our annual State of Caring survey, Adviceline and Members Summit. Our evidence included a number of ‘key asks’ based on outcomes carers told us they want to achieve.

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Our top dozen ‘key asks’

  1. Carer’s Allowance needs to be raised significantly over the longer term and in the short term at least raised to the level of JSA – matching the pledges made in Scotland by all political parties to carers.
  2. The earnings threshold for Carer’s Allowance needs to rise year on year in line with the National Living Wage and a taper should be introduced.
  3. A new Government aim to make every workplace carer friendly.
  4. Introduction of a new right to paid care leave of between 5 to 10 days for carers in work.
  5. Increased funding for social care putting in place a sustainable funding settlement for social care and ring-fenced funding for carers’ breaks.
  6. A review of the implementation of the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to carers’ assessments and support following assessments.
  7. A review of legal rights to support for those caring for disabled children under 18 with legal changes to bring rights into line with those caring for adults.
  8. A new duty on the NHS to put in place policies to identify carers and to promote their health and well-being – helping to build a carer friendly NHS.
  9. A new programme of work looking to support former carers – and support pre-and post-bereavement, including a review of benefits to give longer benefit run-ons and support with returning to work.
  10. New and earlier access to advice and information for carers and a new awareness campaign around planning for care in later life.
  11. A new programme targeted specifically at carers accrediting skills learned whilst caring.
  12. A new focus on technological solutions to make life easier for carers.

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What next?

You can read our Carers Strategy submission in full here.

Carers UK Chief Executive, Heléna Herklots, has also written a blog on our submission to the Carers Strategy, available here.

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