Agenda Item No 7

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 1st February 2016


Report of the Director of Social Services


Young Carer Services: 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 Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

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 Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) 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. 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.
  2. Regardless of their age, all carers have the right to an assessment of their needs as a carer. There is no specific legislation which refers to 'Young Carers' as a distinct category, although each Local Authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their area who are in need and to promote the upbringing of such children wherever possible by their families, through providing an appropriate range of services.
  3. Where a child is providing a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for a parent, they will be entitled to an assessment of their ability to care and the Local Authority must take that assessment into account when deciding what community care services should be made available to the parent.
  4. A report to this Scrutiny Committee in January 2014 described joint working between the Cardiff and Vale UHB, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Cardiff Council to meet responsibilities introduced by the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure, especially in respect of improving information to/engagement with carers. Better support for Young Carers has been a key objective for this joint working.
  5. A separate report in July 2014 focused on support for Young Carers and highlighted a scoping exercise to identify the number of Young Carers in primary and secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan. The findings indicated that 10% of the school population were potentially Young Carers, with 8.3% considering themselves as such. It described a number of actions emerging from a joint working task and finish group, including the development of information and learning materials and a possible workshop to engage Young Carers themselves in further identifying their information and support needs.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Informed by the scoping exercise and the task and finish group, the Vale of Glamorgan commissioned a Young Carers Project, delivered through Cardiff YMCA. Entitled 'Time for me', this service provides opportunities for Young Carers to participate in social activities, events and short breaks outside the school and home environment. Starting in late 2014, the service is jointly funded by the Children and Young People's Partnership (via the Families First Funding) and by Social Services. It builds on the previous delivery model by introducing more individual case work to support Young Carers to improve their educational attendance and attainment.
  2. Since April 2015 from quarter 2 reports show there are currently 47 Young Carers accessing the Project (although numbers fluctuate), 6 of these have received one to one support in the home. 22 Young Carers gained skills and a certificate by attending a sailing residential. Evaluations show a 100% positive feedback for the informal respite.
  3. Additionally, the fulltime Young Carers Project Worker for the Vale of Glamorgan has been working with the Council's Carers Development Officer in delivering a series of Young Carer awareness raising presentations to practitioners across the statutory sector and other organisations.
  4. Under the auspices of the Carers Strategy Measure, staff from Social Services have been working with youth engagement workers from both the Vale and Cardiff, along with Cardiff YMCA, to consult with Young Carers. The purpose is to identify the information and support needs of Young Carers, particularly in relation to health services.
  5. At an initial meeting in November 2015, a group of Young Carers from the Vale and Cardiff came together to hear an explanation of the aims of the Carers Measure and to discuss potential for further engagement. As a result, twelve young people volunteered to be involved in the planning of a wider consultation, to include preparing and delivering a questionnaire, followed by a fun workshop to identify outcomes for statutory services to consider.
  6. It is hoped that this consultation will help establish a more regular dialogue between Young Carers, as a stakeholder group, and statutory services to help inform service delivery on an ongoing basis.
  7. Young Carers will also benefit from our extending the Carers Support Officer (CSO) resource role to cover, for the first time, Children and Young People Services. A part-time CSO has been appointed to support both Parent Carers and Young Carers in respect of their information and assessment needs. Work is ongoing to ensure Young Carers are identified and referred appropriately to the targeted support the Council has in place.

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. Carers Measure funding awarded by Welsh Government to the Vale and Cardiff for 2015/16 includes a ring fenced sum of £11,800 allocated for Young Carers. This funding will cease in April 2016 when the Measure is subsumed into the Social Services and Wellbeing Act.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. All Families First projects are rigorously monitored and evaluated so that opportunities to build upon and sustain the initiatives can be identified.

Families First services depend upon continued Welsh Government funding. Externally contracted Families First projects are required to have their own exit strategies, involving reduction in scale or the cessation of individual project/s should funding diminish or end. In the longer term, it is envisaged by Welsh Government that consideration will be given to mainstreaming successful elements.

  1. 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 in force. The purpose of this measure was to enable the Welsh Government to introduce a new requirement on the NHS and Local Authorities in Wales to work in partnership to prepare, publish and implement a strategy for the benefit of unpaid carers. Guidance was issued to Local Health Boards, NHS Trusts and Local Authorities dated December 2011. The Guidance is for the Local Health Board, as the lead organisation working in partnership with Local Authorities to enable them to implement the requirement by Welsh Ministers that they develop and put in place information and consultation strategies for carers. The measure for the first time places a legislative duty on the NHS in relation to services for carers in Wales.
  2. Carers and Disabled Children's Act 2000 gives carers a right to ask for an assessment including when the person they are caring for refuses an assessment. This Act gives Local Authorities the power to provide services directly to carers and provide direct payments to carers. Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Act 2000 provides that when the carers ask for an assessment the Social Services in consultation with their partners in the NHS must determine what services will provide for the carer when the cared for is ready for discharge.
  3. 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.
  4. The Welsh Government Policy, the Strategy for Carers in Wales and Associated Implementation Plan (WG 2000) seeks to meet the legitimate needs for carers for real practical support and assistance across priority areas of information including health and social care, support Young Carers and carers in employment.
  5. The Carers Strategy in Wales Act Plan (WG 2007) reinforces the Welsh Government's commitment to improve information for carers.

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 Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 provides for co-operation between statutory agencies in the provision of support for carers.
  2. 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 objectives: 'to ensure children and young people are not disadvantaged by poverty' and to 'co-ordinate, preventative and early intervention services for families in the greatest need including Flying Start, Families First and Intensive Family Support Services'.

Policy Framework

  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 consists of officers from Social Services, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Community Health Council, Third Sector and carers. The group has responsibility for delivering the actions detailed in the Carers Information and Consultation Strategy and managing the Carers Measure budget to meet the costs of delivery.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Social Care and Health.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Suzanne Clifton, Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation

Officers Consulted

Head of Children and Young People Services

Children and Young People Programme Board

Children and Young People Partnership Manager

Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services