To receive a presentation on the support available for carers (20 mins)
Marlena O’Donnell, Policy & Strategy Manager, updated the Committee on support available for carers.
During the discussion of this item the following points were made:
· There had been a huge drive in legislation to recognise and support carers. The Care Act 2014 had introduced new eligibility criteria for support for carers and new rights for carers.
· The Council had created a Carers Strategy 2016-2018. Its main priorities were:
Ø Supporting carers;
Ø Enabling carers to keep healthy;
Ø Addressing social isolation;
Ø Supporting carers to self-help and empowerment;
Ø Promoting community based approaches to support.
· The Council actively supported around 700 carers through the provision of statutory services. Councillor Dolinski commented that he thought that this number seemed low. Stuart Rowbotham stated that this number corresponded to a third of customers supported by the Council, so in fact this figure was quite high, as not all adult social care customers would have carers (e.g. they may be living in residential care or live on their own). In addition, many more carers were supported via the local voluntary sector. Marlena O’Donnell commented that many carers did not see themselves as carers or did not wish to be identified as such, however, were receiving services from the voluntary sector organisations funded by the Council.
· Nicola Strudley commented that earlier in the year Healthwatch Wokingham Borough had spoken to 14 carers and they had not been aware of support available to them post the Care Act implementation or had said that it had not made a difference. Marlena O’Donnell commented that carers do not necessarily realise what services were provided by the Council, such as services funded by the Council, but provided by voluntary sector organisations.
· The carer’s assessment provided an idea of the needs of the individual carer. Stuart Rowbotham indicated that needs would vary from carer to carer; some required practical support and others emotional. Those who were assessed were given a copy of their assessment and the support plan. Nicola Strudley suggested that carers may not always know what support they would like and that it would be helpful if some examples of what was available were provided when the carer came to be assessed.
· A new model of carers support services was being developed and a review of carers support services was being implemented. Extensive consultation with carers had taken place with regards to advice and information and outreach services. The service specification for the new service had been informed by local carers and carers would help with choosing the provider.
· Marlena O’Donnell outlined the new carers support services model.
· Support already available included information on the Wokingham Information Network.
· Members were informed of new services including a carers club for carers of people with dementia which would start later in July and advocacy for carers which would also begin in July.
· A Young Carers Service would be starting in July. Councillor Miall asked up to what age carers were considered young carers and was informed that it was up to 18 years old.
· Councillor Blumenthal asked how support for young carers differed to that offered to adult carers. Marlena O’Donnell commented that some of the services were the same, but the young carers’ services worked closely with the schools and provided 1-2-1 support as well as opportunities for young carers to have fun, meet their peers and get support from other young carers.
· Members asked how many young carers there were in the Borough and were informed that statistically there were in the region of 2,000 but it was unclear how accurate this was. Nicola Strudley indicated that Healthwatch Wokingham Borough had identified 100 young carers just via their work with St Crispin’s School.
· A target was to increase the number of young carers identified and supported by the new young carers’ service.
· A new information and advice service for carers was being commissioned.
· Nicola Strudley stated that many GP surgeries currently had lists of patients who were carers. She asked how this information would be shared as the integration agenda was advanced. Marlena O’Donnell indicated that GPs no longer had a duty to keep such lists. The Community Navigators would, however, help to provide a link.
RESOLVED: That Marlena O’Donnell be thanked for her presentation.