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Support for carers

Published: 17 October 2012

17th October 2012 Carers across Gloucestershire will soon be given more choice over which services of support they receive

In a bid to give more freedom to carers, and allow them to have control over the services they receive; next week cabinet will discuss how the money available to support carers, and enable them to have the right to services that support them, should be allocated.

Cabinet will discuss the range of services that are proposed to support carers and the importance of developing personal budgets.  Instead of trying to fit carer's needs into a variety of services, the proposed strategy will enable carers to have greater flexibility while ensuring that the services they value remain in place. 

The allocated personal budgets will be introduced slowly to make sure the services that are already in place have a chance to adapt themselves to respond to carers choosing for themselves.

Over the past three years the county council has been talking with a great variety of carers across the county to truly discover what services are important to them, and how they would like things to adapt in the future. The key messages that have been received are:

· Things that work well currently - Carers value the opportunity to have flexible breaks, training opportunities for themselves and good quality information.

· Changes and improvements - Carers would like to receive emotional support, information and more extensive support locally.

· More control - Carers liked the idea of individual budgets and being involved in shaping the future of services for carers.

Cllr Andrew Gravells, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "We want to do all we can to ensure that carers are provided with all the services they need to make their lives easier where possible. The allocation of personal budgets will not replace the services that carers already receive but will in fact mean that they can choose what help they receive.

"We have worked closely with the carers across the county every step of the way and will continue to do so. We want to give more freedom to the carer - they know what they need more than anyone else, so it's right that they have the choice over what support they receive on a daily basis.

"We will be talking to representatives of carers at every stage, not least because I'm very keen to ensure that our proposals reflect what best suits their needs. That is very important to me and my colleagues."

Carers across Gloucestershire will still have access to their much needed and used support network, with the addition of a carer led forum.  A new development will be to enable carers to have access to a range of emotional support - including one-to-one and group counselling - based on where they live within Gloucestershire.

The overall funding for carers is not being reduced. Cabinet will discuss the gradual shift of budgets in order to generate personal budgets. Meaning, carers will still have services available to them, but gradually will have a personal budget to spend how they want.

A range of services will be tendered in May 2013; the requirements of the services will be more specific and offer a more comprehensive service to carers. Gloucestershire County Council is currently working with the providers, creating what specific requirements can be delivered at high standards as well as offer maximum support to the carer.

ENDS

Notes to editors

The strategy being discussed is following the government's National Carers Strategy, which states that carers should be given the same attention of those that they care for.