Researchers: David Hepworth
Funder: Bolton and Tameside Social Services
Duration: March to August 2000
This project led directly on from a previous project on Carers’ needs and the Carers Act. That project recommended that local authorities and further research should seek to reach black and minority ethnic carers and promote their access to carer’s assessment. This was taken up by two of the local authorities who had participated in the Carers’ needs and the Carers Act project. Bolton and Tameside Social Services commissioned one of the researchers (David Hepworth) to hold consultative workshops on the theme of improving access to assessment and supportive and counter-acting the apparent social exclusion of black and minority ethnic carers from the formal care planning processes. The findings and recommendations were presented with reports to relevant social services committees and became the subject of inter-agency action.
- The perception of the family carer role was not a straightforward simple matter, and yet had serious implications for effective understanding and communication.
- Associated with raising awareness and understanding, carers needed to be supported with appropriate information and guidance to facilitate their ‘access to the system’.
- Whilst cultural sensitivity was important, ready access to mainstream services was a priority for black and minority ethnic carers
- A ‘balanced workforce’ approach was required, involving both culturally sensitive matching of workers to carers as well as a well informed and culturally aware general staff group.
- Underlying other key issues, and important in its own right, was enabling carers to have their say. They should be involved throughout the process of assessment, care planning and review, and in community care planning processes.