National carers strategy

Unpaid care is vital to how social care is provided in Scotland, and the value of the dedication and expertise of carers cannot be overstated. This strategy sets out a range of actions to ensure they are supported fully in a joined up and cohesive way.

7. Annex A – Action Plan

Living with COVID-19

1. Ministers and officials will continue to engage with carers to ensure their voices are heard, including ongoing support for those whose risk may still be higher.

2. We will continue to ensure that carers receive accurate and up-to-date information about living with COVID-19.

3. We will continue to closely monitor all emerging evidence on COVID-19 treatments and their clinical effectiveness.

4. Unpaid carers will continue to be able access free PPE until March 2023. The provision of PPE beyond this is under review.

5. We will continue to meet carers and carer organisations regularly to hear current concerns so we can provide up-to-date information. This includes funding and engaging with MECOPP (Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project) to ensure information meets the needs of carers with one or more protected characteristic.

6. We will encourage employers to be more supportive and flexible to support unpaid carers, through our Carer Positive scheme, which may include ensuring that sick pay and staffing practices support public health aims, adapting premises to make them safer for customers and staff, and enabling hybrid working where that makes sense.

7. We will take measures to ensure our public buildings and businesses are as safe as they can be.

8. We will encourage shops and other public spaces to display Distance Aware signage about personal distance.

9. We will work with partners to raise awareness and increase the uptake of emergency and future care plans.

10. We will work to improve carer recognition, health and social care support, and financial and social inclusion for carers, through the actions set out in the following chapters.

11. We provided £21 million funding in 2021-22 and have committed £15 million funding in 2022-23 for community-based initiatives to promote good health and wellbeing and tackle the mental health issues made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis (the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund).

12. As we develop Scottish Carer's Assistance, we are considering the best way to support carers to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and future proof our benefits system to ensure there is flexibility to respond to changing circumstances.

Valuing, Recognising and Supporting Carers

1. We will make it easier for people to recognise themselves as carers and to access support and advice.

2. We will foster a culture shift towards greater recognition and valuing carers and a connected approach to carer support across government by: connected leadership in the delivery of this strategy, ensuring carers issues are represented in the review of the National Outcomes.

3. We will update the Carers' Charter to reflect carers' rights to information and advice; new rights for carers of people with terminal illness; and, subject to Scottish Parliament approval, the right to breaks from caring.

4. We will support local carer centres to build capacity and ensure all carers can access consistent and up-to-date information.

5. We will keep the need for further national communications campaigns under review.

6. We will ensure that policy is informed by lived and living expertise, by working with carers and carer organisations to ensure carer voices are represented and heard in national policy making, including in shaping the National Care Service.

7. We will continue to support the Carers Parliament to engage carers in policy making and ensure their voices are heard by decision-makers. We will engage with carers to shape future Parliaments.

8. We will continue to support national work to engage, raise awareness and support carers' voices to be heard across all relevant issues.

9. We will involve carers through the Social Security Experience Panels and Social Security Scotland research, including the Client Survey and the Client Panels.

10. We will continue to support the Carers Collaborative and draw on reports and use this knowledge to inform future activity.

11. We will continue to prioritise the enhancement of carer involvement in local strategic decision making under the current system. Providing carers with support and access to national training events remains a primary focus of this work.

12. We will also continue to collaborate with third and independent sector bodies that enable carers in their role within integration authorities.

13. We will ensure that unpaid carers are involved in planning support and services under a future National Care Service through their involvement in co-design activity.

14. We will continue to work with partners and people with lived and living experience to make sure that our social care services work for everyone, including ensuring support for carers becomes more accessible and consistent.

15. We will continue to support improvement work to ensure health and social care professionals are aware of their duties to involve carers and have the skills and resources they need to work together as equal partners in care.

16. We will ensure that the Independent Review of Adult Social Care recommendations on effective carer involvement are delivered as a key element in a NCS.

17. We will continue to fund Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) to work in partnership and explore what 'involvement' in hospital discharge means to unpaid carers and what 'good practice' looks like.

18. We will improve the involvement of carers in decisions where the cared-for person has mental ill health.

19. We will respond to any recommendations of the Mental Health Law Review for improvements to the experience of unpaid carers, including young carers, within mental health.

20. We will update the Code of Practice for continuing and welfare attorneys to reflect changes in the legislative environment, taking into account UNCRPD as well as recent case law.

Health and Social Care Support

1. Where possible, we will increase funding to carer centres and young carer services.

2. We will continue to encourage authorities to spend their full share of carers Act funding on expanding carer support, ahead of establishing a National Care Service making Ministers responsible for social care spending decisions.

3. We will support improvements in the data collected under the Carers Census so that only the most necessary information is collected and used to improve support for unpaid carers.

4. We will review and update Scotland's Carers.

5. We will introduce a statutory right to breaks from caring under the Carers Act and fully fund its implementation.

6. We will work with stakeholders to improve the availability and range of short breaks, supported by evidence to support our approach.

7. We will continue to work with local service commissioners, Shared Care Scotland and others to promote greater availability and choice of short break support in different areas.

8. We will build on our recent investment to increase funding for short break support to increase availability of easy-access preventative breaks support.

9. We will continue to promote the importance and regular review of Short Break Service Statements, to ensure carers understand their right to a break and the breaks available in their area.

10. In addition to updating the SDS Statutory Guidance, we will continue to work with and through delivery partners, including Local Authorities, to support and improve delivery of SDS consistently throughout Scotland and to support national conversations promoting improvement, early intervention, capacity-building, innovation and good practice.

11. In the medium-term, we will embed SDS principles and a human rights-based approach into the development of the National Care Service.

12. We will continue to focus on creatively and flexibly supporting carers through SDS.

13. We will consider how to provide flexible health appointments for carers, including how we provide replacement care for appointments.

14. We will continue to engage with NHS Boards to help drive implementation and support them to test and spread improvements to person-centred visiting.

15. We will reinforce to NHS Boards their statutory duty to involve carers in decision making about when the person they care for leaves hospital, and work in partnership to help them deliver this consistently.

16. We will support effective and carer-aware multi-disciplinary teams in every locality, both in and out of hours, involved in the strategic planning and delivery of services, including through the development of GIRFE.

17. We will consider what further resources and signposting of support may be needed to support carers' mental wellbeing within the National Wellbeing Hub.

18. We will work with relevant stakeholder groups to ensure that carers are aware of the range of mental health and wellbeing resources and advice available to them, and to consider whether carer-specific advice is needed.

19. We will share learning and examples of practice that emerge through our work on the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund projects in relation to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of carers.

20. We will improve training and support for health and social care professionals to help identify and support unpaid carers at risk of suicide and those who care for people at risk of suicide by promoting learning resources and awareness-raising on suicide prevention.

21. By spring 2023, we will publish a long-term delivery plan for the National Trauma Training Programme setting out how we will continue to support, embed and sustain trauma-informed workforces, services and care. This will include a priority focus on trauma training and support for adoptive parents, kinship, foster and supported carers to support delivery of The Promise.

22. We will engage widely throughout 2022/23 and co-produce with people living with dementia, carers, statutory, third sector and independent sector partners to develop our new National Dementia Strategy, building on our internationally recognised action in areas such as rights-based care and post-diagnostic support.

23. We will use the framework priorities to increase support for people with autism and their carers.

24. We will work closely with people with learning disabilities as role models, their carers and leaders to raise awareness and challenge perceptions in Scotland.

25. We will work with the NHS boards, integration authorities, neurological and carer organisations to help ensure carers of people living with neurological conditions are aware of their rights under the Carers Act; and that local carer services know how to access the most relevant information and training for carers of people living with neurological conditions.

26. We have committed £32 million of funding in 2022/23 directly to Children's Service Planning Partnerships (CSPPs) to build local service capacity for transformation and to support the scaling of existing transformational practice of whole family support services in local areas.

27. We are working in collaboration with CSPPs to provide a range of support to accelerate and share learning to drive whole system change in family support at local and national level.

28. We have committed a further £2.974 million of funding in 2022/23 to provide support to families on a low income who are raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people through the Family Fund who deliver support, advice and direct grants to families in Scotland.

29. As part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan commitment, we will engage extensively with parents, carers and children to draft a strategic framework for Out of School Care by the end of this Parliamentary term.

30. As we design a system of wraparound childcare, we will integrate food and childcare provision wherever possible recognising the benefit to children and families of coordinating food, childcare and activities before school and during the holidays.

Social and Financial Inclusion

1. We will draw on responses to the Scottish Carer's Assistance consultation to shape future improvements to social security support for carers.

2. We will support people to receive what they are entitled to and work with a range of partners who have experience in benefit take-up, taking a lessons learned approach on what works best.

3. We will run advertising campaigns to reach hard-to-reach groups and raise awareness of our benefits. We will promoting our payments and remove stigma to deliver a new system that treats people with dignity, fairness and respect.

4. In line with our second Benefit Take-up strategy we will develop a holistic approach to signposting and referral, ensuring clients of Social Security Scotland are helped to access wider support.

5. We will continue to work with unpaid carers to direct them to appropriate sources of support during the cost crisis.

6. We will work with debt advice services and carer centres to understand and respond to the continuing impact of the rising cost of living on these services, and will ensure that the specific needs of unpaid carers are reflected.

7. We will draw on the findings from the Scottish Welfare Fund review to inform any future policy improvements.

8. We will explore a Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for Scotland, developed by a Steering and Expert Group, and ensure that carers' voices are integral to the design and development of the Steering Groups recommendations.

9. We will gather intelligence around the current range of careers information, advice and guidance and employability services to identify whether this service provision meets the particular needs of carers.

10. We will enhance employment support services with the aim of supporting more parents, some of whom will be carers, to enter and progress in sustainable and fair work.

11. We will continue to fund and promote increased uptake of the Carer Positive employer accreditation scheme, working with employers to support flexible, agile and inclusive workplaces that benefit workers with caring responsibilities.

12. We are providing over £750,000 in year 1 of our new multi-year Workplace Equality Fund 2022 to 2024 to overcome workforce inequalities faced by groups such as carers.

13. We will publish a refreshed Fair Work Action Plan, and engage with carers with lived experience of barriers to employment and employers.

14. We will ensure that the specific barriers faced by carers are taken account of when tackling broader societal issues such as digital exclusion and lack of access to public transport.

15. We will publish the Connected Scotland delivery plan in 2022.

16. We will extend the Connecting Scotland programme to reach up to 300,000 people by the end of this Parliament. The new delivery model will consider the needs of carers into account.

17. We will continue to work with COSLA to progress our shared commitment to end all charges for non-residential social care support. We will work with stakeholders to develop and implement options as soon as practicable and within the lifetime of the Parliament.

Young Carers

1. We will continue to recognise and involve young carers as part of all of the actions highlighted in Chapter 2.

2. We will continue to support the Young Carers Festival where they will have the opportunity to engage with attendees and feed into future policy making.

3. We will continue to engage with young carers in order to improve mental health and wellbeing support.

4. We will work with Young Scot to develop a social media based awareness campaign to target young carers.

5. We will continue to provide health and social care support for young carers as part of the actions highlighted in Chapter 3.

6. We will continue to support work to ensure health and social care staff have the skills, knowledge and confidence to identify, support and involve young carers in line with the Carers Act.

7. We will continue to support work to raise awareness of young carers in schools by funding a full time Education Officer post with Carers Trust Scotland and working closely with NHS Education for Scotland.

8. We will help young carers secure the use of their own rights under additional support for learning legislation via the service My Rights, My Say.

9. We will continue to encourage uptake of the Young Carer Grant by signposting via our partner organisations.

10. We will continue to fund the Young Scot young carer package and have expanded this for 2022-23.



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