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Carers’ breaks for adults: guidance for commissioners and providers

This guidance is for commissioners, providers and others involved in the planning, shaping and delivery of support for adult carers, primarily in England. It will be of interest to commissioners within local authorities (including public health), integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS trusts and mental health trusts. It will also be of interest to a wide range of providers – including those from the voluntary, community, private and public sectors, not just those already providing carers’ breaks. Advice and information for carers is available from Carers UK.

Key messages

Key messages about respite and carers’ breaks for commissioners and providers.


Introduction to carers’ breaks: guidance for commissioners and providers.


Holistic approaches to supporting carers and their loved ones.

Local needs

Creative commissioning, effective assessments and clear information.

Choice and control

Empowering carers by giving good information and building confidence.


Effective commissioning to improve outcomes for carers and the people they care for.

Market shaping

Ensuring a diverse, high-quality market from which local people can choose.

Providing breaks

Effective and innovative support from a wide range of providers.

Practice examples

Organisations running respite and breaks for people who use services and carers.

Law and policy

Relevant areas of law and policy regarding carers and breaks.

Evidence base

Evidence from a targeted literature review and Carers UK survey.


Webinar discussing the guidance from SCIE and Carers UK.