Consultation: Adult Carers Strategy 2022 to 2027

About our Adult Carers Strategy consultation

Consultation closed: Thursday 3 March 2022
Consultation opened: Thursday 25 November 2021

Estimates suggest that there are around 30,000 unpaid carers in Central Bedfordshire, which equates to around 10% of the local population. This care could be for a few hours a day or more and could be around the clock care. Their support and contribution is incredibly valuable to those they care for, and many put their lives on hold to offer this support.

The Care Act 2014 defines a carer as:

An adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult.

NHS England defines a carer as:

Anyone who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.

Carers provide unpaid care alongside their other responsibilities, and it is recognised that caring can take a toll on aspects of the carer’s own life including their health, wellbeing, relationships, finance and the ability to continue with work or education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an increase in the number of people with a caring responsibility, and for many, the number of hours they were caring during the pandemic increased. Carers UK has reported that 81% of carers are currently providing more care than before lockdown, with 78% of carers reporting that the needs of the person they care for have increased.

Our overarching outcomes are that people:

  • can live independently in their own home
  • are able to participate in their community
  • are less socially isolated or lonely
  • are safe, secure, valued and respected

Our Adult Carers Strategy supports the delivery of these overarching outcomes. It sets out its vision, strategic aims and priorities to support adults caring for family, friends and neighbours living in Central Bedfordshire.  

It has been developed with input from Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG), carers and organisations in the voluntary and community sector that delivers services and helps represent the views of people they support.

In 2020-21 a Working Together for Change coproduction approach was taken. This involved surveying carers in receipt of services from us and asking three key questions; what is working well, what is not working well, and what is important for the future. This was followed by a two-day workshop involving carers, commissioners, social work teams and providers, using the Working Together for Change coproduction methodology to understand the root causes of what was not working well, build on what was working well and to start to develop an action plan for tackling some of these issues.

The strategy has been co-produced with carers living or caring in Central Bedfordshire, undertaken in 2021 using an approach called Working Together for Change. It also draws on the feedback from the Survey of Adult Carers in England (SACE), which is undertaken every 2 years across England and asks carers in receipt of support from local authorities several questions about their caring role and the impact it has on them. The last SACE was undertaken during December 2019 and the results were reported in June 2019.

Our commissioned carers support service, Carers in Bedfordshire, also undertook surveys of carers registered with them in 2019 and more recently during 2021.

The information from these sources has been used to develop this strategy.

Before adopting the strategy, we wanted to hear from people whose life is impacted by caring responsibilities, those who receive care, and other stakeholders who would be affected by it. The 14-week consultation launched on Thursday 25 November 2021 and closed on Thursday 3 March 2022.