Older man with younger service user playing their guitars

A carer is someone who spends a significant amount of their time providing unpaid support to a family member or friend.

Social care and health services in particular have an important role in ensuring that carers are at the heart of the social care system; and are treated as expert partners in care.

We support the government strategy to improve the lives of millions of carers living in England.

We have a number of tools and resources to help you identify and support carers you come into contact with.



The common core principles for working with carers describe the behaviours carers would like to see when professionals are working with them.

They provide a base for good practice and training for care staff. 

Our Carers Matter – Everybody’s business resource helps you to understand the needs of carers through the learning and development of staff. It is available in three parts which act as tools to help enable training courses.




Our Carers in your workforce matterguidance for employers aims to raise the awareness and importance of carers in the social care workforce.

It shows what can be done to support them, update their skills and prevent them having to leave the workforce.


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

Balancing work and care

We’ve 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 further sources of advice and support.


We have resources that offer practical guidance on supporting family and friend carers of people with dementia.

Dementia: workers and carers together and Dementia and carer: workers resources were developed jointly with Dementia UK.

They 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.



e-learning courses

Our free e-learning course Carers’ Assessments: Getting it right is for anyone who carries out statutory adult carers’ assessments. It offers advice and best practice guidance on how to prepare for and conduct assessments.

The course is based on the common core principles and was developed in partnership with Carers Trust.


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.

Two guides have been developed to support the e-learning but they can also be used as standalone resources.

Carers and communities is a guide to understanding why carers need communities and communities need carers.

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.

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.