The Government has announced its intention to refresh the strategic approach to supporting carers and will produce a clear plan of action for 2011-2015 by the end of the year.
This work will build on the previous Government’s carers strategy – Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities – and will be a cross-government approach. In a letter to social care staff and other healthcare professionals in July, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow confirmed both of these are still appropriate.
The aim of the refresh is to focus on the activities that will have the greatest impact on improving the quality of carers’ lives and the support they receive, from April 2011 onwards. Ensuring the Government works in partnership with local authorities, the NHS, employers, local communities and carers will be a central theme of the refreshed approach.
To supplement the extensive consultation the previous Government undertook with carers, the Coalition Government is asking social care staff, the NHS, the voluntary sector and others to put forward their views on the top priorities and what will have the greatest impact on improving carers’ lives in the next four years. Responses are needed by 20 September 2010.
The tight timescale is necessary in order to help inform decisions in light of the Government’s Spending Review, including planning by local authorities and the NHS from April 2011 onwards. It will also allow the Government and its delivery partners to move quickly to make a difference to carers’ lives.
The Government will consider the issue of carers’ benefits separately under plans to simplify and modernise the benefit system. It will also seek views separately on the extension to the right to request flexible working and the work of the proposed Commission on Funding of Care and Support.
In responding to this call for evidence, organisations are asked to involve carers in formulating their responses, wherever possible and to advise them of the process so they can respond directly.