Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience, but also hard to plan and cope with emotionally - and what is required can vary at different times.
Every day 6,000 people become carers in the UK. Many don’t know how or where to get help. It can be frightening and very lonely.
For some it’s sudden: someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer, or maybe your partner’s health gets gradually worse.
Carers have unique and individual pressures, but the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought new challenges to what is already a demanding situation.
Whether working from home, an office or other workplace, the changes to everyone’s lives may be felt more acutely by those with caring responsibilities. For some, the usual sources of support may have reduced or changed, and others may be in a caring role for the first time.
The Companies House Carers’ Network
I heard an article on Radio Wales about how the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) was the first Civil Service Dept in Wales to set up a carers’ network. The network’s aim is to support working carers in any way they could.
As a carer for both my elderly Mum and Dad, I could see the benefits of having a carers’ network at Companies House. And from the annual People Survey we found that nearly 25% of our workforce had identified themselves as having caring responsibilities.
The network aims to do this by:
- providing a confidential forum to share knowledge and experiences through networking
- raising awareness of the needs of working carers through events and initiatives
- providing an informal point of information and points of contact - signposting people to other sources of support
Carers Rights Day: Thursday 26 November 2020
Each year, Carers UK holds Carers Rights Day to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to.
This year, our carers’ network will be holding a virtual information day with sessions from Citizen’s Advice, Mental Health Advocates and Employers for Carers.
Carer Confident award
We’re proud to announce that Companies House has successfully been awarded the Carer Confident benchmark of Level 1 Active.
The award shows that Companies House:
- is aware that there are, and will in the future be carers in our workforce and has made a commitment to support them through workplace policies/practice
- understands and complies with the legal rights of carers in the workplace
- helps staff to recognise themselves as carers and access practical support in the workplace to assist them to combine their work and caring responsibilities
Guidance for carers and managers
If you’re a carer
Talk to your manager about your situation and the support you need, particularly if this has changed over recent weeks and months. The Carer’s Passport provides a framework for a discussion and a record of the support you agree.
Be kind to yourself. We know it can feel difficult to take time for yourself as a carer because your focus is on the person you are caring for. But, it's important to think about your wellbeing and what will help you to be at your best.
Look at the resources and support available from the Civil Service Carers’ Network.
If you're a manager
Check-in with the members of your team who you know have caring responsibilities. Ask open questions to explore how they are managing the combination of work and caring responsibilities in the current circumstances. Make time to listen and understand what additional support they may need.
Be aware that things may have changed for individuals during the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to change as restrictions are lifted.
Familiarise yourself with your organisation’s most up to date HR policies and government guidance.
If you're a colleague
Reach out to people in your team.
Remember that you don't know what someone's individual circumstances are - but a call or chat to check-in can make a huge difference if someone is struggling or having to adapt to change.
GOV.UK guidance for carers and those with a disability, with information about the benefits and tax credits available to both.
Carers’ assessments are for adult carers of adults (over 18 years) who are disabled, ill or elderly. They provide opportunities to discuss with the local council what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example, physical, mental and emotional needs.
Carers UK is a charity offering advice, information and support for carers. It runs carers groups and volunteer networks and an advice line and online forums.
Carers Trust is a charity providing support, information, advice and services for people caring at home for a family member or friend. It also provides 24/7 helplines and online forums.
Charity for Civil Servants supports civil servants, past and present, throughout their lives, offering practical, financial and emotional support. Their website has a section on carers.
Employers for Carers works with employers to help them support and manage employees with caring responsibilities.
NHS guide to care and support provides advice on accessing local authority care services.