Scottish Carer's Assistance: consultation analysis

Independent analysis of responses to the Scottish Carer's Assistance consultation, a new Scottish benefit which will replace Carer’s Allowance, and be delivered by Social Security Scotland. The consultation was undertaken between 28 February 2022 and 23 May 2022.



Unpaid carers provide care and support to family members, friends and neighbours. The people they care for may be affected by disability, physical or mental ill health, frailty or substance misuse. A carer does not need to be living with the person they care for. Anyone can become a carer at any time in their life, and sometimes for more than one person at a time. Carers can be any age from young children to very elderly people. While caring can be a positive experience for the carer and the cared for person and carers play a crucial role in providing support, caring is also associated with a higher risk of poverty, poor mental wellbeing and physical health and can restrict social, education and employment opportunities.

Figures show an estimated total of around 685,000 carers living in Scotland, including 30,000 young carers. This means that around one in eight of the Scottish population are involved in providing care and support to a family member, friend or neighbour in order for them to continue to live within their community. It is thought that around three in five people will at some point in their lives be a carer. There are also likely to be other individuals who do not identify themselves as carers but nonetheless perform this role.

Carers UK estimate that the value of support provided by unpaid carers in Scotland is around £10.8 billion each year. In April 2022, there were over 81,000 carers in Scotland in receipt of Carer's Allowance and women make up 69% of the current Carer's Allowance caseload. The Scottish Government has provided £209 million in Carer's Allowance Supplement since its launch in September 2018.

The Consultation

On 28 February, the Scottish Government launched a consultation seeking views on proposals ahead of the introduction of Scottish Carer's Assistance. This consultation paper outlined the Scottish Government's proposals for how Scottish Carer's Assistance will work when it is first launched, including making links to wider support in areas such as social care, employability, education and bereavement. It also set out proposals for a new extra payment for people with multiple caring roles, and for five priority changes to Scottish Carer's Assistance eligibility that could be made in future. The consultation asked respondents:

  • To consider how Scottish Carer's Assistance should work from launch.
  • To provide views on the proposed Carer's Additional Person Payment and how the Carer's Allowance Supplement should be paid in future.
  • To consider future eligibility changes.
  • Whether a new form of support should be considered for those with long-term caring roles.

The consultation ran until 23 May 2022. Findings from the analysis of consultation responses will feed into development of Scottish Carer's Assistance.

The consultation contained 48 questions, of which 17 were closed and 31 open.

Respondent profile

In total, there were 192 responses to the consultation, of which 41 were designated as being from organisations and 151 from individuals. A list of all the organisations that submitted a response to the consultation is included in Appendix 1. Organisational responses included a joint response from the National Carer Organisations including Carers Scotland, Coalition of Carers in Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland, Shared Care Scotland and Minority Ethnic Carers of People Project (MECOPP). Organisations were assigned to respondent groupings to enable analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various different types of organisations that responded.

As shown, the highest number of organisation responses was from campaigning / advocacy organisations (17), followed by third sector organisations (10) and third sector (carer) organisations (5). Information on the category applied to each organisation is provided in Appendix 1.

Table 1: Respondent profile
  Number % *
Campaigning / advocacy 17 9
Health organisation 3 2
Local authority 3 2
Representative Body / Association 3 2
Third sector 10 5
Third sector (Carer) 5 3
Total organisations 41 21
Individual 151 79
Total respondents 192 100

* figures may not add to 100% due to rounding


The analysis and reporting of responses was carried out independently by a research team contracted by the Scottish Government.

Responses to the consultation were submitted using the Scottish Government consultation platform Citizen Space or by email. A small number of respondents submitted a response which did not answer the specific questions. These responses have been analysed and incorporated into the report at the relevant sections.

A small number of organisations also consulted their membership and their views have been included in our analysis.

The Scottish Government commissioned 4 consultation events, with the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the Alliance) and Engender who conducted 2 each. A total of 25 individuals attended these events. A further 5 engagement events were undertaken with organisations and reached over 60 carers, including events seeking to take views from particular communities such as rural carers and speakers of Polish or Urdu. While the questions posed at these events did not follow the structure of the consultation, questions reflected its core themes. By and large, the same issues were raised in responses to the consultation and at consultation events. Where different issues were raised at consultation events, these are highlighted in the report.

It should be borne in mind that the number responding at each question is not always the same as the number presented in the respondent group table. This is because not all respondents addressed all questions. This report indicates the number of respondents who commented on each question. When referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms 'a small number', 'a few' and so on have been used. While the analysis was qualitative in nature, with the consultation containing only a limited number of quantifiable questions, as a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that:

  • 'A very small number' indicates around 2-3 respondents;
  • 'A small number' indicates around 4-5 respondents;
  • 'A few indicates around 6-9;
  • 'A small minority' indicates around more than 9 but less than 10%;
  • 'A significant minority' indicates between around 10-24% of respondents;
  • 'A large minority' indicates more than a quarter of respondents but less than a half;
  • 'A majority' indicates more than 50% of those who commented at any question.

Some of the consultation questions were composed of closed tick-boxes with specific options to choose from. Where respondents did not follow the questions but mentioned clearly within their text that they supported one of the options, these have been included in the relevant counts.

The researchers examined all comments made by respondents and noted the range of issues mentioned in responses, including reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other comments. Grouping these issues together into similar themes allowed the researchers to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups. Where any specific sub-group(s) held a particular viewpoint, this is commented on at each relevant question.

When considering group differences however, it must also be recognised that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups did not share this opinion, but rather that they simply did not comment on that particular point.

While the consultation gave all who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population out with the respondent sample.

The remainder of this report presents a question-by-question analysis of responses to both closed and open questions.



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