Implementing the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004

Cooperation between authorities - Provision for carers by other organisations

Key research and policy findings

Practice points

Research and policy

Employers - as well as partner authorities such as health and housing - often assume that it is social care services' role to support carers (29). However, it is important that carers' needs are recognised and provided for by all sections of society and that social services are not seen as being solely responsible.

The 2004 Act will enable social services departments to be better able to call on other authorities to assist in supporting carers (3) (p 13). Key to implementing this are the essential steps of having in place a multi-agency strategy and appointing a carers' lead. The role of the latter is vital to ensure the engagement of other statutory agencies and local resources in supporting carers.

Partnership working can be improved by the secondment of workers between authorities. There is evidence that the placement of a carers' support worker in a GP surgery improves carer access and joint working (12,49). Research into this model has shown that it produces improved awareness of carer issues among surgery staff, quicker interaction and intervention that was thought to have a preventative effect, a more seamless service and carers feeling personally supported by the worker (49).

Ideas from practice

Practice examples are self-reported and have not been evaluated.