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NEW Carers Act comes into force on 01 Apr 2018

Published on April 4th 2018

Carers Act aims to better support Shetland's unpaid carers

Scotland has taken a major step in enhancing the rights of the nation’s unpaid carers this month, with the introduction of new legislation that sets out to ensure that carers are better, and more consistently, supported.

The Carers Act, which came into effect on 1 April, sets out a number of new rights for carers to be supported in their caring role. This aims to help carers continue to care if they wish, but not at the expense of their own health and wellbeing, and with the opportunity to have a life alongside their caring role too. For Shetland Islands Council (SIC) this means a range of new duties to support the local carer population. Shetland Health & Social Care Partnership : Shetland Integration Joint Board are responsible for delivering the changes required by the Carers Act across LA Area.

One significant change is that carers have now the right to be offered – or to request – an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP) or Young Carer Statement (YCS). And any carer can request one, regardless of the number of hours, type of caring, or regularity of their caring role. Instead, this person-focused document will set out what outcomes a carer wants to achieve, and what support they need to be able to do so.

Those carers who are identified as needing support, and meet local eligibility criteria, will have a right to have that support provided by SIC. Local eligibility criteria were developed in consultation with carers and carer facing organisations, however, even if a carer doesn’t meet the threshold for formal support, SIC are still required to establish an information and advice service for carers which will be available to everyone, and this should cover emergency and future planning, income maximisation, advocacy and carers rights too.

With an estimated 788,000 people in Scotland who are caring for a relative, friend or neighbour – including 44,000 carers who are under the age of 18 – unpaid carers make up the largest group of care providers.

More information on the full range of rights in the Carers Act can be found in the Carers’ Charter on the Scottish Government website at https://beta.gov.scot/publications/carers-charter/. Alternatively Care Information Scotland is a web-based service providing a one-stop-shop where people can find information and advice on all aspects of caring, and links to local services and contacts.  There is also an online and telephone enquiry service. Further details can be found here: http://www.careinfoscotland.scot/

For more local information contact us on 01595 743923 or at carers@shetland.org