Carers Rights Charter
1) One of the recommendations of Caring Together is:
'The Scottish Government will produce, with COSLA and partners, a Carers Rights Charter for wide distribution to local authorities, Health Boards, Community Health Partnerships and other bodies.'
2) The Scottish Government commissioned Carers Scotland and the Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project (MECOPP) to work with partners to develop a Carers Rights Charter. The draft Charter is work-in-progress. It needs approval from COSLA Leaders as well as from the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW). The Charter is due to be published in the first half on 2014.
3) The Charter will set out in one place existing rights for carers. These rights are those that carers have both as citizens which are relevant to their caring role (for example, the right to request flexible working) and specifically as carers (for example, the right to a carer's assessment). To support the realisation of the rights the Charter will also set out what we are calling 'expectations.'
4) The purpose of the Charter will be both to inform carers of their rights and how they can expect them to be met and to improve the overall quality of the support and services carers receive.
5) The Charter will be updated on a regular basis to take account of future legislative developments which will confer rights on carers or which will have a beneficial impact on carers. These will include, subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill and the carers' legislation.
6) One of the main issues raised in the consultation to date on the draft Carers Rights Charter is the need for local authorities and other statutory and Third Sector bodies to sign up for the Charter. COSLA is clear too that there is a need to deliver the Charter. The Charter must be collectively endorsed through COSLA so that all authorities sign up for the rights and 'expectations.'
7) The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill confers on Scottish Ministers the duty to keep under consideration whether there are any steps they could take which would secure better or further effect in Scotland of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) requirements. Scottish Ministers are also to promote public awareness and understanding of the rights of children.
8) Getting it Right for Young Carers did not contain a commitment to produce a Young Carers Rights Charter. However, the Scottish Government subsequently agreed to commission in 2014 such a Charter from the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance.
Email: Alun Ellis