Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Our Manchester Carers Strategy

Report of the Executive Director of Adult Services

 

This report provides Members with an update on progress to implement Our Manchester Carers Strategy since the last update to Health Scrutiny in July 2018.  It sets out what progress has been made in respect of additional funding to implement a bold and ambitious offer to improve the lives of Manchester Carers.  This report will also include an overview of the new governance arrangements that have been put in place, how we will work together with Manchester Carers Network to design and deliver new services for Carers, including an improved statutory Carers’ assessment process to reduce waiting lists.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director of Adult Services that provided an update on progress to implement the Our Manchester Carers Strategy since the last update to the Health Scrutiny Committee at the meeting held 17 July 2018. (See minutes of the Health Scrutiny Committee ref. HSC/18/31) 

 

Officers referred to the main points of the report which were: -

 

·                Providing a definition of a carer;

·                The estimated number of carers in the city, noting that studies suggested that up to 25% of Carers provided care in excess of 50 hours per week and that 1 in 9 employees across the city were balancing work commitments with caring responsibilities;

·                Describing the vision for Manchester Carers;

·                The objectives of the Our Manchester Carers Strategy;

·                Information on the biennial carer survey and its findings;

·                Information on Young Carers, noting the Young Carers Operational Working Group had been established and would refresh the strategy with the aim to increase the identification and support for Young Carers and improve pathways.

·                Information on the seven areas of action for the Strategic Action Plan for Young Carers;

·                An update on the Greater Manchester Carers Strategy and the Greater Manchester Exemplar model for Carer Support

·                Providing an update on the Manchester Carers Network;

·                Providing an update on the work of the Gaddum Centre, who manage the Manchester Carers Network which included 20 voluntary organisations providing information, advice and support to Carers’ (including an existing helpline delivered through Manchester Carers Centre.);

·                An overview of the funding arrangements and the progress made in respect of additional funding to implement the offer to improve the lives of Manchester Carers;

·                Governance arrangements; and

·                The voice of Carers, noting that the voice of Carers was important to this work on the basis of “nothing about us, without us” being a core philosophy.

 

The Committee heard from Reko Smith, a carer who spoke eloquently about his own lived experience as carer for his mother. He spoke of the challenges he had experienced, particularly at the time of transition from Young Person to Adult Services and of the various sources of support, both formal and informal.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Smith for attending the meeting and noted that due to time constraints he was unable to remain for the duration of the item. He recommended that Mr Smith be invited to a future meeting to allow enough time for Members to learn of his experience and discuss this with him in further detail. The Committee supported this recommendation.

 

The Committee heard from the Chief Executive Manchester Carers Forum who spoke of his own lived experience of being a carer. He stated that it was important to recognise the significant contribution that carers made to the city, noting that it had been estimated that if carers stopped caring this would result in an additional £854m cost to the Council. He further commented that it was important to understand the positive motives of carers and not to view them as victims. He stated carers chose to care for their loved ones and they should be supported in this role.

 

A Member acknowledged this statement and commented that all services, such as transport, housing and education should be designed with this taken into consideration. The Commissioning Development Specialist stated that work was also ongoing to raise awareness of carers with employees so that their policies and practices recognised and accommodated the needs of carers.

 

Members then discussed the challenges and support offered to Young Carers. The Chief Executive Manchester Carers Forum stated that the conservative estimate is that there was in excess of two thousand young carers across Manchester. The Strategic Lead (Commissioning) stated that a lot of work was undertaken with education establishments to help identify and offer appropriate support to young carers, adding that an officer was dedicated to coordinating and overseeing this area of work. The Chief Executive Manchester Carers Forum stated that work was also underway at a Greater Manchester level to address the support needs of Young Carers.

 

Members discussed the issue of people self-identifying as carers and young carers being reluctant to access support for fear of negative consequences for them and their families.

 

The Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing informed the Committee that reports on the initiatives to support to Young Carers had been regularly considered by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee and these would be circulated to the Committee for information. The Strategic Lead (Commissioning) responded to a question from a Member by confirming that the report referred to that had been published following research on Young Carer’s experience of transition would be circulated to Members for information.

 

The Strategic Lead (Commissioning) stated that the Our Manchester Carers Strategy would drive out inconsistencies and standardise the advice and information offer to carers. She said consideration would be given to how this was promoted to ensure it was appropriate. The Chief Executive, Gaddum acknowledged that sources of support had been fragmented in the past and stated that the establishment of the Single Point of Contact, that would provide a gateway for all Carers to be triaged and supported to the most appropriate services, advice and information they required at an early stage would address any inconsistencies and standardise the offer. She further stated that this would also assist professionals across a range of partner identify carers.

 

A Member commented on the importance to carers of the provision and availability of respite care, noting the relatively low cost of this offer compared to the cost of longer term, full time care. The Strategic Lead (Commissioning) acknowledged this comment and stated that respite care was now referred to ‘replacement care’. She descried that the intention was to commission a service that would enable Carers to be able to buy (using a Personal Budget approach) short term occasional support to help them have a break, attend appointments, knowing that the cared-for person is adequately supported and provided with the necessary care.

 

In response to a specific question regarding a reported underspend the Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing stated that this was related to staffing posts, and would be accounted for once posts had been filled.

 

Decisions

 

The Committee: -

 

1. Note the report.

 

2. Recommend that Mr Smith be invited to a future meeting of the Committee to learn of his experience as a young carer.

 

Supporting documents: