New Government Carers Action Plan published

On Tuesday 5th June the government published its long-awaited Carers Action Plan setting out how to support carers over the next two years (2018-2020).

It is being led by Care Minister Caroline Dinenage and has cross government support. One of the key areas of the plan promises to allow carers flexible hours in full time and part time work, which is an area that we have been working with employers on locally for some time now, through our Carers in Paid Employment work. Although currently carers do have a right to request flexible hours from their employer, there is no guarantee that they will be successful in their application. The Department of Health and Social Care is drawing up a scheme – to be published in the next month – which will explain to businesses how to offer flexible working patterns for carers. However, employers will still have the right to refuse any requests, but at the same time though, government departments including the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions are considering introducing dedicated employment rights for carers. These would include a right to flexi-time as well as a right to paid carers leave, which we fully support and offer to carers within our own staff team.

The plan sets out the cross-government programme of work to support carers and is structured around the following five themes:

Services and systems that work for carers

  • Raising awareness and promoting best practice amongst health professionals and social workers
  • Supporting requirements of the Care Act and the Children and Families Act
  • Personalisation

Employment and financial wellbeing

  • Improving working practices
  • Flexible working
  • Returning to work
  • Financial support

Supporting young carers

  • Identification of young carers
  • Improving educational opportunities and outcomes
  • Improving access to support services
  • Transition for young adult carers

Recognising and supporting carers in the wider community and society

  • Technology and innovation
  • Recognition of carers
  • Community engagement
  • Loneliness

Building research and evidence to improve outcomes for carers

  • Research to improve the evidence base

Whilst there are many positives within this [action plan] we have some concerns as to how this will be implemented and sustainable, particularly given that there are no additional resources allocated to this.

  • The full Action Plan document is available here
  • The Government response to the 2016 carers call for evidence from carers and organisations, which we were involved with, 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

Keith Sinclair – Chief Executive
Carers Support Centre