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Making it real for carers

Traditional service-led approaches to meeting needs in social care has meant that carers have not always received the right help for the right issues in the right way, and at the right time. Personalisation in adult social care seeks to remedy this. The draft Care and Support Bill aims to make provision to ensure that carers have maximum control over how their needs are met. This is done through a whole family approach to assessment and support planning, and the right to request a direct payment. Carers are, for the first time, recognised in law in the same way as those they care for. A guiding principle of the Government’s approach to designing a reformed care and support system is that ‘Carers are recognised for their contribution to society, as vital partners in care, and are supported to reach their full potential and lead the lives they want’.

Carers make an enormous contribution to our society and to the lives of the individuals they care for – whether they are family, friends or neighbours. However carers’ needs, and the impact on carers of any changes made to the care and support system, can sometimes be overlooked. If personalisation and community-based support is to work well, it needs to work well for everyone, including carers.

Personalisation means that all services and support available to carers should be tailored to their specific needs as far as possible: for example, that advice and information should be inclusive of all, including disabled carers, young and older carers, inter-generational carers and carers from ethnic minority groups, and that universally available services should be flexible in their approaches in order to respond to the variety of ways in which those with caring responsibilities can be supported.