Implementing the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004

Duty to inform carers of the right to assessment - Providing information

Key research and policy findings

Practice points

Research and policy

There are lots of ways in which information can be provided so that it is more likely to reach people who may not otherwise know about their rights as carers. Through the multi-agency strategy, statutory and local voluntary agencies should work together to develop an information strategy. Heron (11) details the necessary components of an information strategy and advocates the following stages: 

In addition to being distributed through specialist services, information should be made available via any number of local resources (e.g. supermarkets and shopping centres, libraries, GP surgeries, leisure centres, schools, community centres, places of worship, clinics and hospitals) and in different formats (e.g. recorded voice, easy read, different languages). Local and national media (e.g. radio, internet, press) should be used to publicise carers' rights.   In recent years, a lot of effort has been put into developing information for carers. However, a strategic approach is necessary to ensure that it is received by the right people at the right time. (11) A recent study by the Audit Commission (12) found that, while a great deal of information is available for carers, it needs to be provided in a more systematic way. For instance, people who have just become carers need information on where to get help for themselves and for the person they are caring for. (11)   In addition, many carers of people with learning disabilities have not been assessed because the cared-for person is already receiving services. As a result, the trigger for a carer's assessment - a community care assessment - is absent. (13) This emphasises the importance of well-coordinated, up-to-date information for all those in contact with carers so that carers can become aware of their right to request an assessment.   Previous practice guidance (point 15) (2) sets out responsibilities for local authorities in relation to the provision of information for social care. 

Ideas from practice

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

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