Touchstone’s Chief Executive Alison Lowe outlines the impact of new legislation on carers and the services provided for them.
Last year the Department of Health injected an additional £4 million in funding to enable councils to train their staff in readiness for the implementation of the Care Act from 1 April 2015.
Funds were primarily earmarked to ensure staff were properly trained for when the new Act came into force, bringing into being just one piece of legislation for care and support instead of the multitude of regulations existing in the past.
A key driver behind the Act is to promote the wellbeing of carers, whose needs are often overlooked. Local authorities will be responsible for identifying carers before they reach crisis point and providing them with relevant support to access work, education and training.
Under the new law, local authorities are required to take on new functions to ensure that the care needs of those requiring support are identified before they become too serious. They will also be responsible for helping people to make informed decisions about which care service providers to use.
Councils will be responsible for identifying carers and for setting up an information and advice service about the types of care, help and support available which includes  independent financial advice.
In Leeds, a local census revealed 71,500 carers in the city, resulting in a combined Carers Service led by Carers Leeds in partnership with Touchstone, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust and Age UK.
Together, these charities will ensure carers over 18 years of age receive the services, information and support they will be entitled to under the new Act.
To find out more about how the new Act will affect you please contact the advice line at Leeds Combined Carers Service on 0113 380 4300.
Alison Lowe, CEO Touchstone, can be contacted on 0113 271 8277
Val Hewison, CEO Carers Leeds, can be contacted on 0113 380 4300