Unpaid Carers Legislation, Policy and Rights

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The measures and duties introduced by the Act from 1 April 2018, include:

  • changing the definition of carer - a carer is "an individual who provides or intends to provide care for another individual".
  • the introduction of an Adult Carer Support Plan (replacing carer assessments) and a duty to prepare one for anyone identified as a carer, or for any carer who requests one.
  • a duty to provide support to carers that meet local eligibility criteria.
  • a duty to establish and maintain advice and information services for carers.
  • duty to create local carer strategies.
  • a duty to involve carers in the hospital discharge procedures of the person they care for.

Scotland's Carers Charter

The charter sets out unpaid carers' rights under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, specifically:

  • all carers have the right to a personalised plan to identify what is important to them
  • carers also have the right to support to meet their eligible needs and to choose how that support is delivered through self-directed support
  • every area must have a local carer strategy and carer information and advice service
  • carers also have rights to be involved in assessing the needs of the cared-for person and in decisions about discharging the cared-for person from hospital

National Carers Strategy 2022

The strategy will cover activity during the current Scottish Parliament to spring 2026, but will be reviewed annually to monitor progress and ensure it is focussed on the most important issues.

The key themes of the strategy intend to put the individual carer at the centre and focus on five different aspects of unpaid carer support:

  • Living with COVID-19
  • Recognising, valuing and involving carers
  • Health and social care support
  • Social and financial inclusion
  • Young carers




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