"Personalising Care": the implications for carers and care workers of policy developments in the England 2004-2009
CIRCLE, School of Sociology and Social Policy University of Leeds Leeds, UK
Focusing on the care of older people, this paper considers the implications of two major policy developments in England: (i) the shift towards "personalised" care for those who require support at home - promoted as offering them greater choice, dignity and independence; (ii) an altered focus on carers, including the revised National Strategy for Carers 2008, designed to enable unpaid carers to access the information, support and services they require and to have "a life" of their own, whilst being sustained in their caring role.
The paper will explore the implications of these developments from the perspectives of: (a) England's 3.6m (unpaid) carers of working age (57% of them women), among whom 74% of men and 60% of women provide their unpaid care alongside a paid job; and (b) domiciliary care workers / personal assistants (employed by social care providers in the private, voluntary and public sectors, by agencies or as personal assistants), the overwhelming majority of whom are women.
Using a range of sources - the 2001 Census (data about carers and care workers, already extensively analysed by the CIRCLE team, University of Leeds, 2005-08); the Carers, Employment and Services study (completed by the Leeds team in 2007, including a survey of 1,909 unpaid carers); and the GELLM study of domiciliary care providers (part of the Gender and Employment in Local Labour Markets research programme, 2003-6) - the paper will examine the characteristics of these different providers of care to older people at home, their different roles and working conditions, and will discuss the ways in which emerging policy on the provision of care and support to older people in England will affect both their own situation and their caring relationships with the older people they support.
Policy developments since 2000 (when legislation extended Direct Payments schemes to older people) will be considered, and will include: the 2004 Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act, the 2008 national carers' strategy Carers at the Heart of 21st Century Families and Communities, and the range of social care reforms introduced in 2007-9 as part of the Social Care Reform agenda in England.