Summary of Manifesto Commitments and Scottish Government Actions to Support Carers and Young Carers
Manifesto Commitments 2011
Annual Carers Parliament: carers themselves are to have a more direct voice in the decision-making processes. The Carers Parliament will allow carers to raise the issues that impact most on their lives with MSPs and Scottish Government Ministers.
The Scottish Government has held two successful Carers Parliaments. The third will be held in October 2014. The First Minister announced at the second Carers Parliament the Scottish Government's intention to bring forward carers' legislation.
Employers Kitemark: we will create a new Caring for Carers Employers Kite-mark. This will recognise those employers who offer the best support to carers, allowing them the flexibility they often need to deliver care at home.
The Scottish Government is working with Carers Scotland and other organisations to deliver this commitment. A lot of preparatory and consultation work has been undertaken with employers' organisations, Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions, carers and others. We are seeking to launch the scheme in a first phase this year.
Energy Assistance Package: we will extend the EAP to people on carer's allowance.
The necessary regulations to achieve this commitment are in force.
Short Breaks: we will continue to fund short breaks.
The Scottish Government is providing over £13 million for the voluntary sector Short Breaks Fund to 2015, and, subject to Parliamentary approval of the Budget, a further £3 million in 2015-16.
10,000 respite weeks: we will provide funding to maintain our commitment to an extra 10,000 weeks respite provision per year.
Taking into account changes in methodology of data collection, it is estimated that the number of respite weeks provided in Scotland has increased by 12,650 weeks (7.3%) in real terms between 2007-08 and 2012-13.
Carer Information Strategies: we will continue with £5 million investment each year in the CIS delivered through the NHS. This provides much needed support to local carer centres and training for carers.
The Scottish Government continues to invest in NHS Board Carer Information Strategies. The funding is providing a wide range of support for both carers and young carers across many different caring situations including dementia, mental health, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, substance misuse, palliative and end-of-life care etc. Subject to Parliamentary approval of the Budget, a further £5 million will be made available in 2015-16.
20% Change Fund: we want to see the Third Sector and carers play a key role as partners in the process given their important role in the lives of those cared for. To that end we will ensure that from 2012-13 onwards at least 20% of the Change Fund spend is dedicated to supporting carers to continue to care.
This means that at least £46 million will fund support to carers of older people up to 2015. We know from Change Fund plans that there has been a lot of progress across the country in supporting carers.
Carers as partners in the health service: we will work to make sure that unpaid carers are treated as partners in the health service, the treatment for those cared for can and will be improved when the knowledge and experience of their carers is fully taken into account.
Progress is being made in this area as evidenced in CIS and Change Fund plans. However, there is more to do to ensure that this commitment is fully carried through.
Education Maintenance Allowance: we will work to ensure the EMA takes account of the needs of young carers, with more flexibility to recognise the particular pressures that some youngsters face balancing school and caring responsibilities.
We have met with the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and others about this commitment. During the course of this year and beyond we will be putting in place a range of measures to ensure that schools, colleges and young carers themselves are fully aware of this commitment and that the specific needs of young carers are taken into account so that they receive their full entitlement to the EMA.
Young carers in schools: we will work to ensure that the particular circumstances of young carers are better recognised in our schools.
The Scottish Government has funded the Eryc and Trayc toolkit to help identify and support young carers in primary schools. The CIS funding is also work in schools. Through Additional Support for Learning legislation, young carers are being supported in schools. There is more to do to ensure a consistent approach across schools.
Therefore, all of the commitments have been met or are in progress.
There are a wide range of policy developments underway in addition to those associated with the Manifesto commitments. We are working with SSSC, NES and other key stakeholders to deliver a range of activity that will support the health and social services workforce in their engagement with carers. Our aim is to support effective collaborative working so that carers as partners in care becomes a reality. A key component of this is raising awareness levels of the issues for carers across those workforces.
We are working with the College Development Network so that those working in the FE sector are equipped to identify and support young carers and carers.
We fund a wide range of initiatives through programmes for the Third Sector including carer advocacy, carer training and Gypsy/Traveller programmes.
Young carers are supported through the wide range of initiatives for adult carers, including short breaks, workforce development, information and advice etc. Moreover, the Scottish Government has supported young carers through the annual Young Carers Festival, Opportunities for All employment initiative, action-based research with regard to BME young carers and the Young Carers Authorisation Card.
Email: Alun Ellis