Last Updated: 30 November 2018
Created: 30 November 2018
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has supported Carers Rights Day by joining carers and support organisations for an event at the Pilgrim Centre.
Across the UK today 6.5 million people are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill, and this number will increase to 9 million carers in the future.
Carers Rights Day is an annual event which raises awareness of the needs & rights of carers and makes carers aware of where they can get the help and support they are entitled too. Each year, Justin joins representatives from the Swindon Carers Centre to talk to carers and hear their ideas & concerns.
Justin took questions from carers about the rights they have to access support from the NHS, local authorities, charities, and the Government – including through the welfare system. He also took the opportunity to set out the Government’s commitment to support carers, the people they care for, and care leavers.
The Government enshrined a number of new rights for carers in the Care Act 2014, and provided more than £120 million of funding to local authorities for these rights last year, which include an extended right to assessment and, for the first time, a duty on local authorities to meet carers’ eligible needs for support. Ministers have also invested an additional £490 million to the NHS between 2011 and 2017 to provide carers with breaks from their caring responsibilities to sustain them in their caring role.
In June, the Government launched the Carers Action Plan – a cross-Government report supported by Ministers from: the Department of Health & Social Care; the Department for Work & Pensions; the Department for Education; the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; and the Government Equalities Office.
The Action Plan lists 64 steps the Government is taking to raise awareness of carers and improve support of them. These include:
- In partnership with Carers UK and Carers Trust, the Department of Health and Social Care funded a project to develop a national Carer Passport project (recognition of carers which aids them to access services and community facilities).
- NHS England (NHSE) will work with the Care Quality Commission on the development of quality standards for carer-friendly GP practices
- The Department of Health and Social Care will consult on and publish a knowledge and skills statement for social work supervisors to improve the quality of practice including practice with carers.
- The Department of Health and Social Care will fund a project on actions to promote best practice for local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, and other service providers and commissioners on carer breaks and respite care.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are considering the question of dedicated employment rights for carers alongside existing employment rights (such as the right to request flexible working and the right to time off for family and dependents).
- The Department for Work and Pensions is working with Business in the Community to continue to share best practice of carer policies and practices
- The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is working to support people who have taken time out of the labour market for caring – whether as parents, or carers – to return to paid work at a level commensurate with their skills and experience
- The Department for Work and Pensions will review and improve the information and signposting available to carers who visit Jobcentres to seek support in finding employment.
- The Department for Education is undertaking a review of Children in Need, which includes young carers, to understand the challenges these pupils face
- NHS England will embed and develop the Young Carer Health Champions programme
You can read the plan in more detail via: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carers-action-plan-2018-to-2020
Alongside the question & answer session, attendees also had the opportunity to visit stalls staffed by representatives from organisations, businesses & charities including; the NHS, Swindon Borough Council Citzens Advice, the Royal British Legion, and our local colleges.
As well as supporting carers, the Government is working to provide support to care leavers; something Justin is actively leading on in his capacity as a Minister at the Department for Work & Pensions.
Last month, a new cross-government Care Leavers Covenant was launched to bring together Government Departments, charities and businesses The Covenant will help care leavers navigate the work opportunities available and support them in fulfilling their ambitions; giving them access to work placements and internships with big businesses, Government departments, museums, and theatres.
The Work & Pensions Minister has also been working with Barardo’s on a new campaign to improve employment opportunities for care leavers within the charity’s stores, as well as seeing first-hand the work done be PGL to employ care leavers at its residential sites.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I was delighted