The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 ("the Act")  will come into force on 1 April 2018.
The intention of the Act is to ensure that Scotland's estimated 745,000 adult carers and 44,000 young carers  are better supported on a more consistent basis, so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, in good health and to have a life alongside caring.
Moreover, in relation to young carers, the intention is that young carers should have a childhood similar to their non-carer peers.
The Act sits within the wider context of the Scottish Government's intention to build a fairer Scotland and strong sustainable economy; tackling inequalities in society; and delivering public services in communities.
The case for supporting carers and the potential impact of caring is recognised in national health and well-being outcome 6, which the Act supports –
" People who provide unpaid care are supported to look after their own health and wellbeing, including to reduce any negative impact of their caring role on their own health and wellbeing."
A key aspiration from the 2010-2015 National Carers Strategy was to ensure that carers have their rights recognised. This is realised through the new legislation. The Act will extend and enhance the rights of carers.
Section 36 of the Act requires Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish a Carers' Charter ("the Charter"), setting out the rights of carers in or under the Act. The Charter cannot and does not create any new rights or alter any existing rights. There is also a requirement to consult with carers and carer representatives and to lay the Charter before the Scottish Parliament.
The Charter is intended to ensure first and foremost that carers are aware of their rights as carers.
The draft Charter in this consultation just covers the rights in or under the Act. There will be scope in future to produce an updated version covering carers rights under other legislation.
This consultation will run in parallel with a consultation on a number of draft regulations, which can also be found on the Citizen Space area of the Scottish Government website. Please note that to align with legislative timeframes the consultation on draft regulations will close on 24 September, while the Charter consultation will remain open until 22 October.
Analysis of the responses to this consultation will be considered by the Scottish Ministers, and help to inform the published version of the Charter.
Email: Michael Mawdsley, Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House