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A carer is defined as someone who spends a significant proportion of their life providing unpaid support to a family member or friend.

Health and social care services in particular, have a vital role to play in ensuring that carers are at the heart of the social care system and are treated as expert partners in care. 

Skills for Care supports government strategy to improve the lives of millions of carers living in England. The below resources have been created to help employers and staff to better support the carers they come into contact with as part of their work, by being aware of how to identify a carer and any needs they may have.

We have a number of resources designed to help employers and staff identify and support the carers they come into contact with. More information is available below. 

You can also download our leaflet which gives an overview of the resources Skills for Care have created, to help employers and staff to identify and support the carers they come into contact with as part of their work.

Skills for Care in partnership with Skills for Health have developed the national (England) common core principles for working with carers. These principles describe the behaviours carers would like to see when professionals are working with them, and provide a foundation for good practice and training for care staff. They also provide a unifying set of standards, which all those who deliver training can use.

The below graph gives shows the common core principles for working with carers:

Common core principles working with carers

This is a resource to help employers and their staff better understand the needs of carers through the learning and development of staff. The resource is available in three parts which act as tools to help enable training courses. The guidance is available to download here:

Part 1: Who carers are

Part 2: Why carers are important                   

Part 3: How you can support the learning and development of your workforce to improve and enhance your services for the people who use them and their carers

This guidance for employers aims to raise the awareness of carers in the social care workforce, identifying what can be done to support them, retain their skills and prevent them having to leave the workforce. Split into ten practical sessions, employers can use this resource to better understand the important role that carers play in their organisation. You can download this guidance here:


1. Recruiting, employing and retaining unpaid carers in the social care workforce

2. How many of my staff are likely to be carers ?

3. Why is supporting working carers so important?

4. Carers legal rights a summary

5. How can I retain the skills of my employees who are carers?

6. Learning and development for those employees who are carers what works?

7. How do I know if changes have had an impact on working carers?

8. Awareness raising in your organisation

9. Notes and action planning

10. Further specialist sources of support

Dementia: workers & carers together and Dementia & carer: workers resources, were developed jointly by Skills for Care and Dementia UK; these resources offer practical guidance for the social care workforce on supporting family and friends carers of people with dementia.

The guidance includes hands on advice for care workers on typical experiences of family and friends who are caring for a person with dementia. The resources stress that the social care role is to support the carer as well as the person with dementia, and to supplement the carer's work, not replace it.

These resources can be downloaded here:

Dementia: workers and carers together 

Dementia & carers: workers' resources  


Carers’ assessments: Getting it right

Based upon the Common core principles for working with carers, and in partnership with Carers Trust, Skills for Care has developed a free e-learning course; Carers’ Assessments: Getting it right .

It is aimed at anyone who carries out statutory adult carers’ assessments. The course offers advice and best practice guidance on how to prepare for and conduct statutory carers’ assessments in order to achieve the best outcomes for carers. You can register to access the course by clicking here . If you have already registered, please click here to log back in. A simple user guide is available to help you register and navigate your way through the course. 

Please note that the videos in the e-learning module will only play when using Internet Explorer 9 or above, or Google Chrome.

Guides to develop the skills of those who carry out carers’ assessments

Two guides have been developed to help those who carry out carers’ assessments. These support the e-learning but can also be used as standalone resources.

Carers and communities  is a guide to understanding why carers need communities and communities need carers. It aims to give those who work with carers an overview of ways in which practice can strengthen the ties between carers and their community and why this can lead to better outcomes for all.

Assessing carer's needs : a short guide to taking account of everyone in the family who cares  is aimed at those working with carers and families and will help to take a whole family approach to a carers’ assessment and support planning. It promotes ways in which workers can ensure families are supported in the ways that suit them, in order that they can care for as long as they wish, or are able, to do so.

Skills for Care is working with Carers Trust to understand and develop guidance for the social care workforce on undertaking carers assessments. Within this guide you will find details of our initial research with carers about their experiences.  Click here  to download the guide. 

Hear how the work you do makes a difference to the lives of carers

When we developed our new e-learning course, we talked to some carers about their experience of having an assessment. The result is a thought-provoking, and at times emotional, film which shows how the work you do with carers can have an enormous impact on the quality of their lives.


Balancing work and care

We have also developed a resource for carers, social care employers and staff alike. It sets out basic information about carers at work including how their employer might be able to help them, their legal rights at work, practical help with caring and signposting to further sources of advice and support.

Download the balancing work and care: a carers guide here

Learning from the Learning for Carers grant programme

This information will be of interest to carers support organisations and networks.

This programme was ran to further support carers with practical earning opportunities, such as first aid courses or coping with stress courses.

It's estimated that 1850 carers participated in this project, all of which reported an overwhelming success and demonstrated a clear impact in carers, benefiting themselves and those they care for.

To help evaluate the programme an online survey was issued to all the learning for carers grant projects. To see the summary report of this survey  click here .

Case studies  are available which show how the grants have been used to better carers lives.

In addition we have two short films which give powerful testimony to the impact and benefits of the grants. To view the films click on the links below:

LfC grant Gateshead case study film

LfC grant INS case study film

There for carers: the workforce development needs of Carer Support Workers. This report evaluates the results of a survey which examined the role of Carer Support Workers (CSWs), their learning and development needs and looks at what the recommendations are for the future. The report builds a picture of what CSWs do on a day-to-day basis, the skills, knowledge and qualifications that they have or think they need to have and to explore their thoughts on their career path.

This report has been developed and written in partnership with Carers Trust. You can download appendix 1 and 2 by clicking here .

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