Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care
On Carer’s Rights Day I’d like to extend the thanks of Welsh Government to those who provide unpaid care to others and to the people and organisations that support them.
Unpaid carers of all ages are a valued and valuable part of society. Undertaking 96% of care at community level, not only do carers make a positive difference within families and communities but also contribute more than £8bn to the Welsh economy every year.
Through our Carers Strategy 2013-2016, significant progress has been made, however there is still much more to do. I can assure carers across Wales that the Welsh Government remains firmly committed to prioritise action on the areas that matter most to them.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act gives carers an equal right to have their needs assessed as those they care for. Under the act, local authorities must provide a support plan to help carers to secure the outcomes that matter to them. The act came into force over a year ago and we are taking forward actions to ensure that these enhanced rights are recognised and actively delivered upon. I would like to thank partners across health, local government and the third sector for their cooperation on this part of our work.
Today I am announcing £1m in 2018/19 for local health boards to work collaboratively with all partners to enhance the lives of carers in line with the priorities they have identified. We know that our carers’ policy must be informed by those most directly affected by it and as a result of our continued consultation with carers and their representatives we have established that our 3 national priorities must be:
- Supporting life alongside caring - All carers must have reasonable breaks from their caring role to enable them to maintain their capacity to care, and to have a life beyond caring.
- Identifying and recognising carers - Fundamental to the success of delivering improved outcomes for carers is the need to improve carer’s recognition of their role and to ensure they can access the necessary support.
- Providing information, advice and assistance - It is important that carers receive the appropriate information and advice where and when they need it.
To ensure that engagement continues with stakeholders, I am establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group. Made up of key partners it will provide a national forum to steer the delivery of improvements for carers and provide a cross government response to the challenges they face.
To support this group I can confirm that I will also allocate £95,000 in 2018/19 to fund projects to drive forward a national approach to delivering against the priorities. I have invited stakeholders to a workshop in December to advise further on the establishment of the Ministerial Advisory Group. This workshop will be instrumental in developing proposals for nationally funded projects in 2018/19.