Early in June, the Government published its Carers Action Plan which sets out the Government’s short term plans to improve support for carers over the next two years, ahead of the Green Paper on reforming the funding of social care for older people which is due to be published this summer. 

It is a cross-government programme of work led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), other government departments signed up are the Government Equalities Office (GEO), the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and the Department for Education (DfE).

The Carers Action Plan was built on evidence submitted as part of the Call of Evidence in 2016 for a renewed Carers Strategy. Over 6,000 carers submitted evidence, and Carers FIRST was one of the many organisations who directly feed in their views.

Carers Action Plan: Key points

1. Raising awareness of and promoting best practice amongst health professionals.

  • Development of quality standards for carer-friendly GP Practice, and quality markers that can be used by doctors’ surgeries to demonstrate how effective they are in recognising and supporting carers.
  • Better identification of and support for older carers and carers of people with dementia.
  • Support the implementation of the Care Act duties for carers.
  • Promote best practice for carer breaks and respite care.
  • Better support for parent carers to navigate the transition from child to adult services as their child approaches the age of 18.

2. Employment and financial wellbeing

  • Develop a carer-friendly employer benchmarking scheme.
  • Promoting flexible working
  • Ensure that benefits for carers (including Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit) meet the needs of carers and support employment for those carers who are able to work.

3. Supporting young carers

  • Improve the identification and support of young carers, in particular better identification among Black, Asian and minority ethnic families.
  • Improve access to support for young carers
  • Develop the Young Carer Health Champions programme, which was established to support improved confidence in using health services, promote health and wellbeing, and develop the capacity of young carers to participate in the planning and development of young carer friendly services.
  • Better support for young adult carers to make positive transitions between the ages of 16-24

4. Recognising and supporting carers in the wider community and society

  • Develop carer friendly communities.
  • Encourage better self-care for people living with long term conditions and/or mental health issues.
  • Continue to provide grant support for Parent Carer Forums to help ensure they have a voice in local decision making on policy and service delivery for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

 5. Building research and evidence to improve outcomes for carers

  • Improve the information available on carers to ensure that future strategies and project work are informed by a strong evidence base.

Whilst there are many positives within this action plan, Carers FIRST has some concerns as to how this will be implemented and is sustainable. We await the social care green paper and hope local services will be given the funds they need and carers have access to the support they need.

The full Action Plan document is available here >>

The written ministerial statement from Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Care, is available here >>

Carers Trust response to this is here >>

Carers UK’s response is available  here >>