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Carers Act Scotland

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force in April 2018. Its aims are to make it simpler for carers to be identified as needing support with their caring role, and make access to this support easier.

The legislation places a duty on local authorities to provide carers with an assessment of their needs. For adults the carers’ assessment is known as an Adult Carer Support Plan and for young carers under 18, it is called a Young Carer Statement. The assessments focus on how the caring role is affecting the carer and what support can be offered to help them sustain their caring role.

The Act specifies there must be certain things included in support planning for carers, such as identifying the carer’s personal outcomes, considering emergency and future planning, how much care the carer is willing and able to provide, and how the carer can be supported to access planned time out from their caring role.

Each local authority must also maintain or establish an information and advice service for carers giving access to information on topics relevant to carer’s lives such as carers’ rights, income maximisation, advocacy, bereavement support, and emergency and future care planning.

The key duty in the Act is that carers who meet eligibility criteria must be provided with support to meet their identified needs. When carers do not meet eligibility criteria for support, local authorities must set out how they will meet those needs. In Argyll and Bute, this support is delivered through Carers Centres.

The Act has a lot of focus on carer involvement – not only in local strategy development and development of services, but also in assessment and services provided to the cared for person. There is also a duty on health boards to involve carers in planning and decisions when the person they care for is to be discharged from hospital.