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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

The 2021 Census identified the number of residents in Essex providing unpaid care as 124,000. It is highly likely there are many more residents in Essex providing unpaid care who do not identify themselves as carers.

Essex County Council invests in support to unpaid carers through Adult Social Care services and through the commissioning of organisations to support carers with their own health and wellbeing needs. Specialist carers organisations are delivering services for carers on a countywide scale, alongside more local carers organisations who are delivering community projects.

From April 2024, a re-designed model for supporting carers has launched, compromising of the following components:

  • A countywide central point of contact for carers for early help, advice and guidance including triage and referral to relevant specialist carers support. This includes access to health and wellbeing lifestyles services such as smoking cessation.
  • A countywide core offer of support for carers including specialist information advice and guidance. The service helps carers to find practical solutions to address specific challenges, provides interventions to support good emotional wellbeing, peer support groups and small grants that enable carers to have time for themselves doing things that maintain their wellbeing.
  • A one-off Carers Community Fund (CCF) has provided small grants to organisations to deliver local projects within communities to improve carers health and wellbeing needs.
  • A virtual offer for carers which reaches, engages and supports carers online.
  • A countywide service which captures the lived experiences of carers to ensure carers views are listened to and help shape future services.
Essex Market 2024/25 Planned Spend Number of Providers
Core Offer of Support £1.5 Million 2
Front Door £0.2 Million 1
Carers Voice £0.1 Million 1
Digital Offer £0.1 Million 1
Carers' Community Fund £0.9 Million 57
Total Spend £2.8 Million  
No. Known Carers (based on Census 2021) 124,000  

The information shown in the table(s) above is correct as of 31st March 2024.

Expenditure on Carers Direct Payments and other indirect services (such as respite, carer's breaks, etc.) are not included as are being covered by other Market Position Statements. Carer grants (with the exception of the CCF) are not included in the above figures.

The ambition for carers is set out within the Essex All Age Carers Strategy 2022-2026. The core commitments are:

  • To ensure carers can easily access the information, advice, guidance and support when they need it and early into their caring role.
  • To develop professional practice and processes to improve identification and support to carers.
  • To improve transitions for carers as they move through specific phases or life events in their caring role.
  • To ensure carers will have increased opportunity to access good quality support, including opportunities for breaks, to maintain their own wellbeing and those they care for.
  • To ensure carers’ needs and rights will be understood and recognised across Essex communities.
  • To ensure carers will be the experts that influence, shape and be involved in the decisions that are intended to improve their support and wellbeing.

There has been good progress against the strategy and impact is being monitored.  An external evaluation of the carers offer is being commissioned to evidence impact and economic benefits.

 

The COVID impact highlighted is:

More people have become carers and those already in a caring role have needed to do more by way of caring than they did before. Where some may have had a reliance upon paid care staff to carry out some of the care, with care staff testing positive and needing to self-isolate, this resulted in the unpaid carers role increasing.

Current market risks:

  • Difficulties accessing support services:

Residents in caring roles may not identify as a carer and so not access preventative based support available to them. Carers are also sometimes unable to access services which are prescriptive in their availability and timings. There are few support options available in the evenings, overnight and at weekends. The impact is mitigated through a virtual offer for carers which is accessible 24/7.

  • Demand for Social Care support:

There is a high demand for statutory carers assessments and reviews via Social Care which has increased carers waiting times for support.

Our current areas of focus are:

  • To continue to listen and gain insight into the lived experiences of carers to help shape services and inform future commissioning decisions. This is currently being achieved through retrospective journey mapping of carers’ experiences and our carers voices involvement service.
  • Working with providers supporting carers to increase the identification and access to support for carers. This is through promotion and development of services to expand outreach, as well as working in collaboration with wider partners to promote and support professionals through distribution of the Think Carers Guide.
  • Improving the Carers assessments processes and guidance delivered by Social Care to make carers support more accessible.
  • Building confidence, independence and resilience through launching an online training and learning portal for carers
  • Exploring and promoting digital and technology solutions that can support carers in their roles
  • Commissioning an independent evaluation of the carers commissioning offer to evidence impact of the carers support model and the economic value of preventative based carers services.
Last updated: 31/03/2024