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Carers Action Plan 2018 - 2020

Supporting carers today

This action plan outlines the cross-government programme of work to support carers in England over the next two years and builds on the National Carers Strategy. It retains the strategic vision for recognising, valuing and supporting carers from 2008, which has been the vision of successive governments. It sets out this Government’s commitment to supporting carers through 64 actions across five priorities emerging from the carers' Call for Evidence. The actions focus on delivery and tangible progress that can be made in the near future, and give visibility to the wide range of work that is planned or already underway across government to support carers, their families and those they care for.

Although the term “carer” is defined in very specific terms for the purposes of the Care Act 2014, and for the purposes of claiming some benefits, this action plan recognises carers in a far broader sense. Thinking too narrowly risks people not getting the recognition and support they need. For the purposes of this action plan, a carer is considered to be anyone who spends time looking after or helping a friend, family member or neighbour who, because of their health and care needs, would find it difficult to cope without this help regardless of age or whether they identify as a carer.

The action plan builds on the Care Act 2014, a historic piece of legislation which introduced important new rights for carers, putting them on the same footing as the people for whom they care. Carers now have legal rights to an assessment of, and support for, their needs where eligible. Alongside the Care Act 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 extended the right to a needs assessment to all young carers, regardless of who they care for or the type of care provided. This means that when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family will be considered, triggering both children’s and adult's support services.

Government is committed to supporting carers to provide care as they would wish, and to do so in a way that takes account of their own health and wellbeing, access to education, employment and life chances. However, some solutions reach beyond the health and care system, and indeed beyond the influence of Government. We also need businesses, local communities, the voluntary sector and individuals to play their part in addressing these challenges to make sure that caring is everybody’s business.

At the root of this is the need to raise the profile of carers and caring – so that all of us recognise and value the contribution carers make within our families, communities, workplaces and society.