Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Health Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 13th  February, 2017


Report of the Director of Social Services


Young Carers: Annual Update Report


Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Scrutiny Committee on support services for young carers.


  1. That the Scrutiny Committee notes the work undertaken to support young carers in the Vale of Glamorgan.
  2. That Scrutiny Committee refers the report to Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To ensure that Members continue to exercise effective oversight of this important function undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.
  2. At the request of the former Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee to receive the report on an annual basis.


  1. Young Carers are defined as children and young people under the age of 18 who have caring responsibilities for someone who has a physical or mental illness, a physical or learning disability, or a drug or alcohol problem. Carers aged 18 to 25 are often referred to as young adult carers
  2. The person they look after may be a parent, a brother or sister, a grandparent or other relative. They may provide practical or physical care, help with personal care, assistance with domestic tasks, and/or emotional support.
  3. Their day to day responsibilities often include: cooking, cleaning, shopping, providing nursing and personal care, giving emotional support. With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children have to play and learn. Many struggle educationally and are often bullied for being 'different'. They can become isolated, with no relief from the pressures at home, and no chance to enjoy a normal childhood. They are often afraid to ask for help as they fear letting the family down or being taken into care.
  4. The Social Services and Wellbeing Act, for the first time gives all carers the same rights as those they care for. Regardless of their age, all carers have the right to an assessment of their needs as a carer. Each Local Authority continues to have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area who are in need. In addition to promote children remaining within their family, wherever possible, through the provision of an appropriate range of services to achieve this.
  5. The assessment must include the extent to which the young carer is able and willing to provide care, as well as the outcomes the young carer (and the person with parental responsibility for them) wish to achieve. As a child, the assessment must have regard to his or her developmental needs and the extent to which it is appropriate for him or her to provide the care. It will also consider the extent to which support, preventative services, or the provision of information, advice or assistance could assist in achieving the identified outcomes for both the carer and the service user.
  6. If the carer is a young adult aged between 16 and 25 the assessment must include an assessment of any current or future transitions the carer may make into further or higher education, employment or training opportunities. The assessment must have due regard to what the young adult carer wishes to participate in, and their outcomes.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. A report to this Scrutiny Committee in February 2016 updated Members on the commissioned Young Carers Project, delivered through Cardiff YMCA. Entitled 'Time For Me', this service provides opportunities for young carers, aged under 18, to participate in social activities, events and short breaks outside the school and home environment.
  2. During 2015/16 reports showed that 50 young carers accessed the Project (although numbers fluctuate), 15 of these received one to one support in the home. 22 young carers gained skills and a certificate by attending a sailing residential course. Evaluations show that 87% of recipients gave positive feedback in relation to the informal respite.
  3. In the quarter ending December 31st 2016, 49 young carers attended the Project and 31 respite opportunities were accessed. 1 to 1 support was provided to two young carers, which in the main related to emotional wellbeing. The RBA report for the month end shows 36 individuals accessed at least one activity per month and the activities offered rated as 95% positively received.
  4. Under the auspices of the former Carers (Wales) Strategy Measure, staff from Social Services and the Health Board had started work with youth engagement workers from both the Vale and Cardiff, along with Cardiff YMCA, to consult with young carers. The purpose was to identify the information and support needs of young carers.
  5. Twelve young people volunteered to be involved in the planning of a wider consultation, to include preparing and delivering a questionnaire, followed by an information event and workshop to identify outcomes for statutory services to consider. The survey of young carers known to the YMCA and Action for Children achieved 102 responses from a potential 210 respondents and 45 young carers attended the 'Speak Out' event.
  6. The 'Speak Out' event consisted of a series of creative data-generation workshops that would provide the opportunity for the young carers to give their opinions and relate their personal experiences. This was combined with an information market place where the young people could find out about support available and sample activities such as healthy cooking and first aid. Entertainment was provided in the form of live music and a play area (for younger children) and a photobooth.
  7. Analysis of the survey and workshops was undertaken by Cascade, the Children's social care research and development centre at Cardiff University. The report was made available at the end of April 2016 for consideration by Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Councils and University Health Board (Appendix 1).
  8. Subsequently, meetings have been held to bring together interested parties for the purpose of considering what we could do to meet the recommendations arising from the Report.
  9. A working group was convened including representatives from social services, health, safeguarding, youth work and third sector organisations working with young carers. This working group is currently finalising a work plan outlining how the recommendations will be achieved. These 16 proposals will be discussed with young carers, seeking their views as to whether the proposed actions would meet the outcomes they have identified through this work.
  10. Possible actions include the development of a young carers card and the development of age appropriate information. A second meeting of the reconfigured Young Carers group was held 12 January, 2017, looking at the outcomes from the Carers Consultation. An action plan is being drafted and will be presented to the group for sign off by the end of January.
  11. In regard to the young carers card specifically, it was agreed that a task and finish group would meet before the end of February to put together a more detailed plan for implementation. This would oversee a phased introduction of a (voluntary) i.d. card. The working group will consist of safeguarding leads from Cardiff and the Vale, the Vale Youth Participation Officer, a member of the Patient Experience Team (C&V UHB) and a Cardiff YMCA rep. Some initial considerations of the Task and Finish group will include agreed criteria, design and production and whether there need to be different cards for different age groups - this will be a short term piece of work.
  12. Longer term goals for this initiative include identifying and negotiating 'benefits' to link to the card, incentives for young carers to sign up to having such a card, awareness/recognition of card (who and why), ongoing maintenance of the systems and administration, renewal process (annually etc.).
  13. A young carer was invited to speak at the Vale Youth Forum AGM to talk about their own situation and the impact of caring. The presentation raised awareness amongst the young people attending and has informed the Youth Forum Action Plan for 2017/18.
  14. The suggestion to introduce a card, to identify a young carer to staff and officers they come into contact with, initiated from the Youth Forum presentation and is included in the draft work plan of the Young Carers Working Group. The original idea from the Youth Forum was to use the card to identify a young carer in a school setting if, for example, a carer is late due to their caring role or is unable to meet other deadlines such as for homework. A need for emergency travel in circumstances where the cared for is hospitalised was also highlighted as a potential use.
  15. Discussion at the Working Group identified other situations where a Young Carer identification card could be used, for example when prescriptions are collected from the Pharmacy and to assist in the sharing of information during the transition between Primary and Secondary School. The Working Group will look into the feasibility of all these suggestions, and continue working closely with the Youth Forum.
  16. The Welsh Government has made available Transitional Funding of £10,776 for young carers in 2016/17, with an equal amount in 2017/18, which is enabling us to deliver some of the actions in the final work plan.
  17. This funding has been provided to support:
  • Strengthening of the partnership approach at a local level;
  • Creating opportunities to enable third sector to fully participate in the delivery;
  • Setting out how we intend to plan and deliver the increased responsibilities for health and the new responsibilities for Local Authorities;
  • Ensuring transitional funding is used as the means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers' needs, so it is common practice.
  1. The Transitional Funding has been used to finance Carers Trust South East Wales to introduce a Young Carers Accreditation Scheme to secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan. The scheme aims to raise awareness of young carers within education settings and provide additional information and support. It is encouraging to note that there has been an excellent response to approaches from Carers Trust, with nearly all Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools replying to a survey on existing support and five indicating their interest in participation in the Accreditation.
  2. Transitional Funding for the next financial year will be used to support Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools to achieve the award and look to extend the scheme to primary schools.
  3. One of the stated purposes of the Transitional Funding is that it is used as a means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers' needs, so it is common practice. Sustainability has therefore been an integral consideration in all young carers initiatives utilising this funding
  4. Young Carers are also benefitting from the new Carers Support Officer (CSO) role in Children and Young People Services. A part-time CSO has commenced work to provide support to both Parent Carers and Young Carers in respect of their information and assessment needs. To date 11 young carers have been assessed, which is a significant improvement from previous years. Work is ongoing to ensure young carers are identified, referred and assessed appropriately for the targeted information and support the Council has in place and signposted to community information, services and support.
  5. To support this initiative and ensure the Council is meeting the requirements of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act in respect of young carers, a 'young person' friendly assessment tool has been developed in collaboration with Cardiff Council and successfully implemented. This tool, containing age appropriate graphics for older and younger young carers, supports the collection of essential data to inform the assessment process (which is also developed for use in both Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan).
  6. The YMCA Vale Young Carers Project Worker and the Vale Carers Development Officer have developed a presentation about young Carers to the Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) Forum and the Development Officer has joined the Vale Nurture Forum. Articles about Young carers have also been regularly featured in Caring Times, our carers' newsletter.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Young Carers Project is a joint funded project between Families First and Social Services. Families First will contribute £40,000 per year until March 2017 and £10,000 is being made available from the carers services budget in Social Services.
  2. Transitional funding to support young carers under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 has been allocated by the Welsh Government for 2016/17. Cardiff and Vale UHB have £10,776 ring fenced for young carers within an overall budget of £123,881.
  3. Confirmation has been received that Transitional funding for 2017/18 for Cardiff and the Vale will be maintained at the same rate as for 2016/17.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability implications as a direct result of this Report
  2. There are no climate change implications as a direct result of this Report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Carers Strategies (Wales) 2010 is now incorporated into the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Included in the new Act is the continuation of the requirement on the NHS and Local Authorities in Wales to co-operate in relation to the delivery of preventative services, unless this is incompatible with their own duties. It also requires regional partnerships to ensure information, advice and assistance is offered across the region in a manner which is accessible and suits the needs of their population.
  2. The United Nations Convention and the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) have relevance to a child as young carer. Article 3 includes the provision that in all actions concerning children by public or private social welfare institutions etc. the best interests of the child should be of primary consideration. Article 12 makes provision for ensuring that the child's views are expressed freely and given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. There are other Articles which relate to the rights of the child.
  3. The Welsh Government Policy, the Strategy for Carers in Wales 2013 and Associated Delivery Plan 2013-16 seeks to meet the legitimate needs for real practical support and assistance across five priority areas of: Health and social care; Identification, information and consultation; Young carers and young adult carers; Support and a life outside of the caring role; Carers and employment;

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no direct crime and disorder implications as the result of developing these services, although their preventative nature is likely to have a positive impact on children, young people and families.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Equality Act 2010 protects carers of disabled people 'by association': i.e. if they experience discrimination because of their links to a disabled person. The Council recognises this and it is satisfied that no specific equal opportunities issues arise as a consequence of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The work outlined in this report addresses the following corporate objective:

Objective 1: Reducing Poverty and Social Exclusion:

"Align relevant activities associated with Families First, Flying Start, Communities First and Supporting People programmes to maximised opportunities across all programmes".

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The Children and Young People's Partnership Board allocates the Families First grant in line with the priorities of the Community Strategy and Welsh Government grant criteria. The Board comprises officers and representatives from a range of public bodies and the voluntary sector.
  2. The Carers Strategy Measure Implementation Group, who commissioned the young carers consultation, consists of officers from Social Services, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Community Health Council, Third Sector and carers. The group had responsibility for delivering the actions detailed in the Carers Information and Consultation Strategy and managed the Carers Measure budget to meet the costs of delivery up to March 2016.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Healthy Living and Social Care

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Suzanne Clifton, Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation

Officers Consulted

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People's Services

Mark Davies, Children and Young People's Partnership Manager

Responsible Officer:

Phil Evans, Director of Social Services