Scotland's Carers

This report brings together statistical analysis and research on caring. The report is intended to provide a useful source of information for carer's organisations, policy makers, local authorities and anyone who is a carer or knows someone who is a carer.

7. Chapter 7: Background Information

7.1. Rationale for publication

The main carers' strategies in Scotland are: Caring Together: The Carers' Strategy for Scotland 2010 - 2015 and Getting it Right for Young Carers 2010 - 2015: Developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Local Authorities in Scotland, in partnership with carer, third and statutory sector organisations, they set out a range of actions to improve support to carers and young carers through better identification, assessment, information and advice, carer support, participation and partnership working.

7.2. Scottish Carers' Policy

This publication aims to bring together some of the key statistics on carers and caring alongside references to relevant pieces of research. Much of the data is sourced from Scotland's 2011 Census and there is potential to carry out further analysis of this data source. It has not yet been decided whether this should be a regular publication. We would be interested to hear your views and ideas for any future publications or analysis. You can do this by emailing us at

The Carers (Scotland) Bill: was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 9 March 2015. The legislation aims to ensure that carers are better supported to enable them to continue to care, if they so wish, in good health and to have a life alongside caring. In relation to young carers, the intention is that they should have a childhood similar to their non-carer peers.

7.3. Sources of data

Scotland's Census 2001 and 2011

Both the 2001 census and the 2011 Census in Scotland asked a question about unpaid caring. The same question was asked in both years but in 2011 an additional category was asked to allow for analysis of carers who are caring for 35 or more hours per week. This is the level at which carers can become eligible for Carer's allowance.

The 2011 Census asked:

Do you look after, or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either:

  • Long-term physical / mental ill-health / disability; or
  • Problems related to old age?
  • Do not count anything you do as part of your paid employment
    • No
    • Yes, 1-19 hours a week
    • Yes, 20-34 hours a week
    • Yes, 35-49 hours a week
    • Yes, 50 or more hours a week

Scotland's Census 2011 website provides access to a variety of different tools for accessing and analysing census data.

The 2001 Census asked:

Do you look after, or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either:

  • Long-term physical or mental ill-health or disability; or
  • Problems related to old age?
  • Do not count anything you do as part of your paid employment
  • time spent in a typical week
    • No
    • Yes, 1-19 hours a week
    • Yes, 20-49 hours a week
    • Yes, 50+ hours a week

For more information from the 2001 census, see the SCROL website at

Scottish Health Survey

SHeS provides a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish population in private households and is designed to make a major contribution to the monitoring of health in Scotland.

The Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) has been carried out annually since 2008 and prior to this was carried out in 1995, 1998 and 2003. An annual report is published for each year of the survey (the latest published being 2013). The SHeS includes a number of questions on caring including whether or not the respondent provides care, the number of hours each week providing care, length of time providing care, whether employment has been affected and support received by the carer.

Survey weights are applied to adjust for non-response and to ensure SHeS results reflect the age distribution of the population of Scotland and Scottish areas. Taking into account the complex stratified and clustered survey design, confidence limits around SHeS estimates are provided to indicate the degree of precision.

Scottish Health and Care Experience Survey (HACE)

HACE is a biennial care experience postal survey of people registered with a GP practice. The survey is part of the Care Experience Survey Programme and asks people about their experiences of their GP practice, out-of-hours primary care and social care services. A series of questions aimed specifically at carers was introduced in 2013/14. Carers were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with the following statements:

  • I have a good balance between caring and other things in my life
  • I am still able to spend enough time with people I want to spend time with
  • Caring has had a negative impact on my health and wellbeing
  • I have a say in services provided for the person I look after
  • Services are well coordinated for the person(s) I look after
  • I feel supported to continue caring

Department of Work and Pensions

DWP publish statistics on Carer's Allowance.

Analysis of both:

  • Carer's Allowance - cases in payment; and
  • Carer's Allowance - all entitled cases

has been carried out using the DWP tabulation tool for inclusion in this publication.

Carer's allowance is available to people who are aged 16 and over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone. They don't have to be related to or live with the person they care for. Carer's allowance is taxable and can also be affected by other benefits. For more information on carer's allowance see

Pupil Census.

The annual pupil census collects information from all publicly funded schools in Scotland. The pupil census captures the educational needs of all students and this category allows schools to identify young carers with additional support needs.

National Records of Scotland (NRS)

For figures that have been expressed as a rate per population, the National Records of Scotland mid-year population estimates for 2013 have been used (the latest available).

7.4. Other Scottish Government publications on Carers

Carers data including Respite Care publications

Caring in Scotland: Analysis of Existing Data Sources on Unpaid Carers in Scotland

Scottish Health Survey Topic Report: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Section 4.1.11 Unpaid Care - pages 43-45

7.5. Respondent Burden

This Release has involved no additional respondent burden as it uses already published sources of data.


Email: Steven Gillespie

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