All Age Carers Strategy 2022 to 2026

The aim of the strategy is to ensure that you have the right information, at the right time, and the support that you deserve.

Introduction

This All Age Carers Strategy was created in partnership with Experts by Experience and our health partners together with carers of all ages from across Cambridgeshire. It builds on our successes, sets out where we can make improvements and draws together the views of carers, local organisations, and community groups. This strategy is aimed at people who support their loved ones as unpaid carers.

older lady with young man who is in a wheelchair

Whatever stage you are at on your caring journey, we want to support you. We understand that looking after someone else can be rewarding but also have an impact on your own wellbeing and opportunities. We know that being a carer can often come about unexpectedly and the level of support you give may increase or decrease over time. Although you are supporting someone else, you may also be receiving care yourself and you may be in receipt of Carers Allowance. We know that taking on a caring role is often unpaid and underestimated and this can lead to you feeling undervalued and unappreciated.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance

This strategy is based on key guidelines known as NICE guidance. Support for Carers covers each of the recommendations. The first three recommendations in the list below were highlighted as priorities in Cambridgeshire. These were identified in feedback from online surveys of carers, and people working with carers.

Recommendations from the NICE guidance for carers

  1. Information and support for carers: overarching principles
  2. Identifying carers
  3. Psychological and emotional support for carers
  4. Assessing carers’ needs
  5. Helping carers stay in, enter, or return to work, education, and training
  6. Social and community support for carers
  7. Training to provide care and support
  8. Support during changes to the caring role
  9. Support for carers during end-of-life care and after the person dies

This guidance should be read together with the Care and support statutory guidance under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

What we have done so far (All Age Carers Strategy 2018-22)

There are nine strategic priorities outlined in the All Age Carers Strategy 2018-22. Here are some examples of what we have done to deliver them.

Access to information, advice and support

You told us that it can be difficult to access information, understand what support is available to you, or how you can engage with services. We have commissioned services to bridge this gap and will continue to make this a key area of focus going forward.

We undertook an independent evaluation of the services we offer to support carers. This evaluation targeted carers who had accessed our services for carers. Feedback from this group indicated they felt more able to manage their caring role safely, with overall positive feedback of 86% for this outcome. As part of this evaluation, we are now aware that:

  • 91% reported increased knowledge about where to access appropriate information, advice, signposting, and support services
  • 89% reported better access to their entitlements, information, and support
  • 80% reported feeling better supported in their caring role

Early identification of all carers

We commissioned a 3-month media campaign to connect with carers who may not see themselves as carers or who struggle to access support for carers. The campaign used social media to target carers and offer them online support. This was a successful project in which the targets we set were exceeded in the three areas of Engagement, Support and Insights.

The campaign resulted in identifying 4,418 new carers who were offered access to support. This project highlights the importance of renewed campaigns to target those carers who remain hidden. Whether that is because you are new to caring since the last campaign or are reluctant to come forward for a variety of reasons. Future campaigns will also look to understand why we had been unable to reach you before.

The feedback that you provided made it clear that there can be confusion about which relationships can count as a ‘caring role’. This is something that we now provide more information about.

Priority areas (strategic intentions 2022 to 2026)

Using what carers have told us, information about our local carer population and a review of our work in support of carers, we have prioritised seven areas that will help us continue to support carers. We have set out below how we intend to improve how we do that over the next three years in our strategy.

More details on each of these priority areas is below. We have set up working groups for each of them that will guide us in our activities over the course of the strategy.

Why is this important?

  • Young carers say that they often start caring from a very young age. They do not realise that they are doing anything different to their friends until much later.
  • Young carers say that they would like to be identified as young carers as early as possible. They believe that during Primary School is usually the best time.

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • hold workshops and forums, including representatives from local carer support organisations to ensure carers voices are front and centre of the way we implement our strategy
  • ensure people conducting assessments are able to capture the needs and desired outcomes of parent carers as well as the child/young carer
  • ensure that assessment is not the end but leads on to relevant support
  • evidence if the Early Help Assessment (EHA) is the most accessible method for working with parent carers to complete whole family assessments
  • organise additional training to ensure that, where appropriate, families are linked in with the 0-25 disability team once they have an EHA
  • support the development and expansion of Young Carer Champions in schools
  • support all teachers in schools to have more understanding of young carer issues
  • tackle bullying of young carers
  • offer a range of support options, both universal and targeted, to enable young carers to enjoy their childhood, achieve their potential and transition to adulthood

Why is this important?

  • We know from listening to you that some parent carers have found the route to obtaining a carer assessment is not straightforward.
  • There is a Care Act duty to support parent carers with a whole family approach.
  • Some parent carers may not realise that they could be entitled to support from the 0-25 disability team.

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • work regularly with the parent carers forums (Family Voice and Pinpoint) to find opportunities for parent carers to engage with us and have their voices heard
  • work regularly with carers support providers to find opportunities for parent carers to engage with us and have their voices heard
  • ensure those conducting assessments are able to capture the needs and desired outcomes of parent carers as well as the child/young person being cared for
  • ensure that assessment is not just an end in itself but leads on to relevant support
  • build evidence to understand if Early Help Assessment (EHA) is the most accessible method for working with parent carers to complete whole family assessments
  • invite parent carers who already have an EHA to attend regular Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings, to discuss their needs within a supportive, experienced, and understanding environment
  • organise additional training to ensure that where appropriate, families are linked in with the 0-25 disability team if they have an EHA

Why is this important?

  • This will promote a smoother transition for young carers and the person being cared for.
  • Young carers should have choices regarding the next stage(s) of their life, enabling them to move on to further education or employment.
  • To meet our Care Act duties by providing transitions assessments.

What actions will we take?

  • Young carers assessments should focus on needs between 16 and 18 to ensure key transition points are successfully negotiated and delivered
  • We will ensure Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities (MACA) and Positive and Negative Outcome of Caring (PANOC) assessments are completed to gain a fuller understanding of the needs of young carers and their families
  • We will engage with young carers early to build relationships so services can support during important transitions
  • We will improve communication with schools and educational establishments

Why is this important?

  • While caring for a friend or relative is by nature an act of care and support. However it can unfortunately sometimes lead to either the carer or cared for person being at risk of abuse.
  • The Home Office (March 2022) stated that in 8% of the Domestic Homicide Reviews analysed, the victims were carers and in just over half of these, the perpetrator was the person being cared for. None of these carers had a carer’s assessment.

  • Abuse within the caring situation can include:

    • Domestic abuse – be that emotional or physical in the relationship between a parent and child, or a partner or someone you live with

    • Financial abuse – the mistreatment of someone in terms of their money or assets, such as their property

  • No one should feel forced to be a carer. There is a choice about being a carer and we do not assume family members will automatically take on this role

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • focus on prevention by encouraging a carers assessment which looks at the ‘whole family’ rather than only the cared for person and their needs. We will facilitate the professional conducting the assessment to help them identify any risk of abuse. 
  • build into the review processes of the cared for person and the promotion of support services available
  • promote information available through different methods such as social media, GP Gateway (Primary care) and carers meetings/events

Why is this important?

  • There are Care Act duties to promote wellbeing for all carers.
  • We understand that carers are more likely to have a long-term condition, disability, or illness (63% as opposed to 51% of non-carers) – 2019 GP Patient Survey.
  • Carers Week research found that:

    • 72% had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring (2018)
    • 61% had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring (2018)
    • carers are seven times more likely to say they’re lonely vs the general population (2019)
  • Young carers’ mental health should be considered and supported appropriately by all professionals working with the family.

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • make promoting wellbeing a key focus
  • ensure commissioned providers can provide emotional and psychological support
  • populate our web pages with relevant information and links
  • create a regular newsletter with positive messaging along with updates and reminders for services that promote and support wellbeing

Why is this important?

  • Carers have told us that they don’t feel their knowledge and experience is valued by professionals
  • You have also told us that it takes a long time to get a response from professionals, including the results of carer assessments and direct payment applications
  • The young carer population currently do not feel heard or valued by adults working with their cared for person
  • There may be the potential to pool budgets to ensure appropriate services are commissioned
  • It is likely to avoid the duplication of services 
  • It can offer streamlined services for smooth transitions across pathways of support and care 
  • It addresses carer elements from relevant strategies and legislation 
  • Young carers have their voice heard and are involved in coproducing policies and the support services that they access
  • You say you often struggle to understand the respective roles and responsibilities of health and social care

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • focus on a ‘no wrong door’ approach. You should not have to repeat your information when liaising with different professionals
  • create clear action plans for all the different carers groups
  • enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant organisations – which means we understand and agree what each of our roles is to implement this strategy
  • recommission the All-Age Carers Service – which will support this strategy
  • hold a practice review of the model used for carers assessments and conversations, including whether there is more need for formalised support and direct payments for carers
  • clarify when a carers assessment is needed
  • explore better ways to keep in contact
  • improve joint working between:
    • Cambridgeshire County Council
    • the Integrated Care Board
    • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
    • Peterborough City Council
    • Addenbrookes and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals e.g., through a Forum for strategic leads and an agreed working structure

Why is this important?

  • You tell us you do not know where to go to find information easily for yourselves, or when you find it is not easy to understand 
  • To empower you and increase your self-confidence by enabling you to increase your knowledge of your rights, and what is available to you as carers
  • To meet Care Act duties to provide all carers with universal access to good quality information 
  • You tell us that you would like more regular contact, using a range of communication methods

What actions will we take?

We will:

  • clearly define the existing support offered
  • make information more accessible
  • create a visual diagram which is available as part of the carers support information and our Local Offer. This might include an overview of our commissioned services and key providers
  • update the council web pages, including FAQs, in line with relevant guidance
  • run a social media campaign to publicise awareness of a ‘one stop shop’ for information
  • ensure that our Care Act duties, approach, and what triggers an assessment and carers conversations are easy to find and understand for carers
  • hold regular streamlined communications with providers to increase information circulation

How we will implement the strategy

We are working with carers and partner organisations to put together a clear action plan for all groups of carers. This will enable us and our partner organisations to deliver and improve your support. We will work on the needs identified for each of the Priority Areas.

We will publish the action plan(s), with clear timescales for implementation, through a variety of media channels including online all partner organisations and the Carer’s Partnership Boards. We will report progress to appropriate forums, both internally to senior management teams in Cambridgeshire County Council, the Integrated Care Board and externally through the channels mentioned above.

All Age Carers Strategy - documents