The Trailblazers

Trailblazer updates – 29 February 2016

Devon County Council have felt that suggestions and recommendations provided by the Making a step change team have been useful alongside seeing what the other local authorities are doing. Going forward the council are committed to:

  • Sustaining and implementing a memorandum of understanding jointly-owned between children’s and adult services.
  • The Task and Finish group in being built into feed information into Devon’s Early Help multi-agency steering group.
  • To ensure that young carers and young adult carers are on everyone’s agenda across early help and universal services to include quality training to identify and refer young carers and their families for support.

Devon County Council and Devon Carers have reported that they would find it useful to monitor and measure where their referrals are coming from, and so be able to judge from which areas increasing referrals would be useful.

Oxfordshire have met with the MASC team to discuss how they capture young carers across adult and children’s databases and embedding a pathway. Oxfordshire young carers service have made training available for staff in the Customer Services team who process adult carers assessments in the first instance. Young Carer Champions taking receipt of these queries has meant that there is increased communication with the Young Carers Service. The young carers team will be developing this pathway to extend to assessments to coincide with database development consultations.

Now in Oxfordshire carers aged between the ages of 18 and 25 are seen as a young adult carer and are assessed through the (adult) carers assessment process. This information is shared with Oxfordshire County Council Young Carers Service team who assess whether the young adult carer requires any additional support. Young Carers aged between 14 and 19 are entitled to a Young Carers Transition Assessment that will consider how to prepare for adulthood and how to raise and fulfil their aspiration and support their transition into adult services. Oxfordshire are considering how they can more efficiently record and monitor the distance travelled following assessment and into support.

Liverpool have been sharing their knowledge with other local authorities by presenting on two webinars: Referral Pathways and Joint working with health services. The local authority hopes that relationships with other Trailblazers will develop over time and continue after the MASC programme, so that they will be able to understand each other’s ideas in more detail.

Liverpool are interested in how to better engage schools and invited the Young Carers in Schools programme to present at an ADASS North West Carer Leads Network. Liverpool has been encouraging their local networks to get involved with MASC. For Young Carers Awareness Day, as part of their ongoing work with higher education providers the Liverpool John Moores University’s (LJMU) package of specialised support for young adult carers who are also students was launched.

Liverpool have also been keen to develop their assessment tools for younger carers. The MASC team shared an assessment example from Surrey’s Action for Carers.

In Surrey, leadership and management have consolidated through the last steering group meeting of the interagency partnership in November, with focus on the To Do list accountabilities.

Practice in specific sectors has progressed notably in health, with significant involvement from the Clinical Commissioning Group. A particular push has been given to the work with young carers of military personnel, drawing on Surrey’s experience and linking to initiatives nationally.

Sharing and influencing has continued apace, with the local steering group being a vital energiser of cross-agency and inter-professional activity. Nationally, activity has been fuelled by the opportunity afforded through the Making a step change programme. John Bangs and Bill Badham co-led a young carers leads group for the East and West Midlands in November, involving 35 people from across about 17 local authorities. Many signed up to the newsletter and have formed a networking and support group. With excellent work across health in Surrey, the local authority contributed to a national webinar in January and is leading on a national conference on 31 March in London.

Surrey has gained great credit for its work. Surrey Young Carers was nominated for the Young Carers category by Carers Trust for the co-designed statutory assessment tools that young carers designed alongside Surrey County Council. The Clinical Commissioning Group was the winner of HSJ Award 2015 – CCG Commissioning for Carers Category in partnership with Surrey County Council, Surrey NHS Providers & Voluntary Sector Partners.

Sandwell has taken stock through undertaking an online survey, developing a road map, and exploring issues within the strategic steering group and discussions with the Making a step change facilitator. On 16 December a small group met to develop an action plan to progress these priorities. The group meets under the authority of the Director of Children’s Services and will review progress on 22 February. The key actions (not all of them) are set out below and address issues at leadership, management and practice levels.

  • Consider the Corporate Parenting Board having representation from young carers.
  • Update MOU to include reference to the new duties in C&F and Care Acts
  • Develop young carers Strategy group with action focused accountabilities across adult and children services within the local authority, voluntary sector and health, promoting more integrated policy and practice.
  • Build awareness and ability to respond to young carers across wide range of staff
  • Build understanding and effective response to young carers across services
  • Review and streamline the pathway for young carers and their families within the principles of a whole family approach and no wrong doors.
  • Build on progress with schools, to increase consistent leadership and more widespread effective identification and support to young carers.
  • Build awareness and effective practice in relevant adult services and with GPs.

Stockton Borough Council has been working systematically to improve the lives of young carers in partnership with Eastern Ravens Trust (ERT) and other voluntary and private organisations. There is strong leadership across the local authority and health. The Health and Wellbeing Board and the Children and young people management team bring service managers together, enabling effective management and co-ordination. Key practice issues are taken forward and reviewed through these decision making bodies. The strong and active partnership with ERT is underpinned by the joint commissioning process between the Borough and NHS Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Making a step change programme is timely in Stockton in promoting continuity of purpose at a time of structural change. On 6 November, the strategic lead in the local authority and lead voluntary sector partner developed an action plan based on four issues:

  1. Schools actively identify young carers and refer when required. The 73 schools have each been supported by ERT and have a policy in place, but for some are a little more active. Next steps are for ERT to link with the existing schools network to extend good practice and raise the overall response to young carers in secondary and primary schools.
  2. Children and adult services undertake initial identification and assessment of young carers promptly and effectively. Next steps are to identify current practice and gaps. The information will be taken to the CYPMT to identify a service manager responsible for reviewing relevant policies and procedures in the specific service internally or externally contracted.
  3. Health professionals improve their identification of and response to young carers and their referrals for assessment and support. Next steps are to consider how to use the 10 February young carers conference to raise the profile and develop a local set of promises to gain practical improvements.
  4. ERT, the Borough Council and NHS share learning and develop areas to focus on and seek funding to progress these. Stockton has an excellent profile in the region and nationally for the work with young carers and their families. There is strong backing among elected members and senior officers and a sound three-way partnership with the council, NHS and ERT. The Making a step change initiative has allowed for a good profile. The event on 10 February offers a focus and timeframe for action.

Trailblazer updates – 18 December 2015

Surrey continues its strong progress in work with young carers through committed leadership in these difficult times, expressed recently by increased funding to the commissioned young carers service. Its strategic management is co-ordinated by one designated lead officer through a multi-agency steering group which is signed up to an overarching strategy. The vision translates into reality through a To Do list which assigns priority tasks and ensures monitoring of progress.

Stockton have set four key priorities linked to the Trailblazer programme. 1) Schools actively identify young carers and refer when required. 2) Children and adult services undertake initial identification and assessment of young carers promptly and effectively. 3) Health professionals improve their identification of and response to young carers and their referrals for assessment and support. 4) Partners share learning building toward a large event on 10 February.

Sandwell’s prospective focus is 1) Greater strategic collaboration and shared understanding especially relating to the new legal duties across children and adult services. 2) Improved access of young carers voices into leadership forums and decision making. 3) Building on and developing work with young carers especially in relation to schools (and potentially adult health issues). A meeting in December will settle the priorities and assign responsibility to progress in the New Year.

Liverpool will mark 25 years of having a young carers service in 2016. They are building on their strong city-wide referral pathway, originally using the CAF but now based on the EHAT (Early Help Assessment Tool). Although Adult and Children’s Service are both using the same client record system ‘Liquidlogic’, a key challenge is how they will interface when recording young carers cases.’

Oxfordshire’s collaboration between children’s and adults services is slowly evolving. The local authority held a young carers conference for public service representatives from Oxfordshire and the surrounding areas in order to share knowledge on issues affecting children who care for a family member. One key challenge is the capacity for support that the young carers services can offer. This has changed since the legislation came into force, which led to a marked increase in referrals for assessment.

Devon is working to embed young carers within the early help strategy which is a joint adults and children’s strategy. Devon is focussing strongly on working with schools and facilitating the engagement of more schools with the Young Carers in School programme.

Introducing the Trailblazers

Devon                                                                    Liverpool
Oxfordshire                                                          Sandwell
Surrey                                                                    Stockton-on-Tees

Southern Trailblazers


Tell us about some of the great ways your council is identifying, assessing, and supporting young carers and young adult carers.
We are planning on asking individual schools to identify their young carers.  This is being undertaken with a nominated Education Welfare Officer who is being allocated specific time for young carers work.  We are asking consent from young carers to pass contact details onto EWOs or Careers South West so that further support can be offered.  Careers South West are also commissioned to prioritise the needs of young carers in relation to education, training and employment.  We are also part of the Young Carers in Schools award and are aiming to raise awareness through this.
The young carers work is planned to become an integral part of the Early Help strategy and will be accountable to the multi-agency early help operations group.  Representatives from the Young Carers commissioned service will be part of the group alongside the Young Carers commissioner.  A Young Carers project group is planned to be further developed to ensure implementation of the action plan which is in place following the signing off of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Director of People Services. Members of the group include Public Health, Education, Integrated Childrens Services (for children with additional needs), adult services and provider organisations.  All multi-agency training will include specific mention of Young Carers and guidance for professionals around young carers is planned to be included in the assessment framework.
Young Carers are specifically mentioned in the Devon Think Family guidance.  The Commissioning Officer attends the Young Carers Council to feedback developments and understand concerns of the Young Carers.  We are also working with Bright Futures (funded through the Big Lottery) who work with Young Adult Carers around transition.  Young Carers have recently taken part in a Fixers project to produce a video about their experiences which will be aired on television and used in training throughout the Local Authority to raise awareness of the issues of young carers.

What are some of the challenges you face in implementing the new duties in the legislation?

  • There are some issues around gaining consent of young carers for information to be passed on to other agencies if there is not a safeguarding issue.
  • Data collection is currently rather disjointed and monitoring of outcomes for young carers can be complicated.  Several agencies could be involved with a young carer but not aware, either that they are a young carer, or that other agencies are involved.
  • A whole raft of agencies could be involved around families.  There are around 400 schools in Devon (including a large number of private schools and academies).  Devon covers 2534 square miles with a mix of rural and urban areas.  There is an issue around the rurality of some populations and social isolation where responsibilities of young carers may not be evident.
  • There is a continuing need to establish that presenting as a young carer should be a positive way forward.  There is, in some cases, stigma attached to this and families can be concerned about seeking further support because of fears that children may be removed from the family.

What do you hope to achieve by being a Trailblazer with the Making a step change for young carers and their families: Putting it into practice Programme?
We hope to keep the impetus going by becoming a Trailblazer and thus raising awareness of the issues for young carers across the Local Authority. We hope to find practical solutions for issues that we currently have and creative ways of identifying young carers and supporting them, perhaps through different sources of communication eg Skype, Babble.  We would also like advice and support around data collection and issues around consent to share information.


Tell us about some of the great ways your council is identifying, assessing, and supporting young carers and young adult carers.
We are committed to identifying and supporting young carers and young adult carers and are proud to be one of the six trailblazing Authorities working as part of the Making a Step Change project. We have a mixed model of service delivery with the Local Authority Young Carers Team working in partnership with our voluntary sector provider, a well-developed Young Carers School Standards Awards Project that runs alongside the national scheme, and have contributed 4 examples of good practice from Oxfordshire to the previous national forerunner projects.The Care Act has already had a positive effect in supporting the identification of more young carers. Year on year the number of new young carers identified in the county grows 397 in 14/15 – a 27% increase from the previous year. During 14/15 – the service supported 532 individuals (a fifth of these were open to Children’s Social Care) – these would be only young carers providing significant levels of care and/or where the negative impact of this care is at a concerning level.
What are some of the challenges you face in implementing the new duties in the legislation?
The Care Act requires the removal of these thresholds for assessment therefore we are starting to see a significant increase in young carers identified and assessed.  We anticipate that this will continue to rise. Work load in relation to referrals for assessments has increased by 89% over the first 4 months since the legal changes, with many more children and young adults identified via the adult carers assessment process.

What do you hope to achieve by being a Trailblazer with the Making a step change for young carers and their families: Putting it into practice Programme?

As part of the Making a Step Change Project we will be offering additional training to Adult Social Care staff, some ‘getting to know you’ sessions for staff from our Young Carers and Adult Services. We will also be developing a young adult carers project group for local providers of education, training and employment so we can support the young adult carers we are identifying and working with more effectively.

We have also recently recruited three new Young Carers Transition Worker posts; their role is to work with education, health and social care partners to ensure that young carers get identified, gain the assessment they now have the legal right to and are supported as they move into adulthood.


Tell us about some of the great ways your council is identifying, assessing, and supporting young carers and young adult carers.

Research for the BBC (“Kids who Care” 2010) suggests that there are 14,000 young carers in Surrey. Just over 4000 young carers are known to our networks; a huge increase on 5 years ago but still leaves much more to do. There also about 1100 young carers known to other carers support services and Early Help networks. Further information about young carers is included in Surrey’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. Our work is coordinated through a multi-agency young carers strategy group involving:

  • Adult and Children’s Social Care, Education and Services for young people and District Councils,
  • the NHS (CCGs and provider Trusts),
  • Action for Carers Surrey and other voluntary sector partners
  • young carers from the Surrey Young Forum.

See our shared strategy:

A Young Carers Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Directors of Children’s and Adult Services and the CEO of Surrey and Borders NHS Trust (who run our Mental Health services) and is designed to give practitioners clear guidance about who does what.

Statutory Young Carers Needs Assessments are undertaken by the statutory team dealing with the person looked after. They use co-designed assessment tools “About Me” and “iCare” to assist practitioners in having child/young person focussed discussions.

Our independent Surrey Young Carers Service provides support to more than 2000 young carers a year. Their Education Advisors work to assist education settings in supporting students/pupils who are young carers.  They have, in partnership with schools and colleges, identified a further 1000 young carers who have not been referred to SYC but are supported in schools.

Additional support is available to young carers and young adult carers through carers support payments of up to £500. We are looking to enhance this offer through the use of pre-paid account cards to assist older young carers with travel costs.

What are some of the challenges you face in implementing the new duties in the legislation?

Many staff in social care and health need to know more about young carers. A two day training course has been run three times for young carers champions from Adult and Children’s Teams. Some of the materials used are now available as free training resources.

The Surrey NHS Carers Care pathway includes young carers and our Clinical Commissioning Groups are working with NHS Trusts on improving identification of young carers including via GP surgeries, school nursing services and other community based health services.

What do you hope to achieve by being a Trailblazer with the Making a step change for young carers and their families: Putting it into practice Programme?

We hope to build on this and are looking for:

  • Help with sharing materials produced in Surrey and developing practice
  • Sharing learning with other trailblazers
  • Help in evaluating the effectiveness of interventions across a wide range of settings

Northern Trailblazers


Tell us about some of the great ways your council is identifying, assessing, and supporting young carers and young adult carers.

Liverpool City Council has a well-developed ‘whole family approach’ to supporting young carers from 0 – 25 years of age. This includes:

  • Joint commissioning between Adult and Children Social Services and CCG
  • Joint young carers assessment policy and procedure
  • Care pathway for young carers that is embedded within early help but sits across adult and children’s services
  • Commission direct services for young carers, young adult carers and their families
  • Message in a Bottle Emergency Planning Tool
  • Keeping the Family in Mind Resource Pack
  • Support within schools and further education – Liverpool City Council commissioned Barnardos (Liverpool) to deliver development work in respect of working proactively with the city’s Schools, Universities and Colleges which has resulted in a number of innovative approaches to identification and support particularly for young adult carers.
  • Workforce development including early identification and duties in respect of new legislation
  • Liverpool was an early adopter of the MoU in 2009 and in July the same year the city was chosen by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to be an implementation site for the ‘Think Child, Think Parent, Think Family’ Guide
  • 2013 in partnership with Liverpool City Council, Barnardo’s Action with Young Carers was successful in their application to the Department of Education (DfE) Integrated Interventions for England (establishing strategic partnerships to ensure early and effective interventions for young carers and their families) national project and was awarded £65,000 of funding over 18 months
  • Liverpool City Councils work to implement the Care Act and Children and Families Act as it applies to young carers and young adult carers has been cited as an example of best practice within the following documents published on the LGA website
    • The Care Act: A guide to efficient and effective interventions for implementing the Care Act 2014 as it applies to carers
    • Adult carers of young people in transition

What are some of the challenges you face in implementing the new duties in the legislation?

Liverpool faces the following challenges implementing the new duties:

  • Duties sit across adult and children’s services;
  • Reduction in health and social care budgets;
  • Welfare reforms;
  • Early identification;
  • IT and client data;
  • Capacity within existing services;
  • Integration between health and social care.
What do you hope to achieve by being a Trailblazer with the Making a step change for young carers and their families: Putting it into practice Programme?
The MASC project not only provides us with an opportunity to share best practice widely and easily but it also provides us with an opportunity to learn from others and benefit from the expertise and experience of the MASC project team.
Ultimately we hope to build on our work with young carers and young adult carers to date. As such there are a number of key areas that we want to examine through the MASC project:

  • Interrogate available data relating to young carers and young adult carers in Liverpool and improve data quality and capture
  • Improve early identification through early help framework and workforce development (linked with final challenge – schools)
  • Limited success to date with implementing strategic approach to supporting young carers in schools. Keen to evaluate current work with schools based on learning from the ‘Young Carer Aware’ local pilot and national pilot of the ‘Young Carer in Schools Award’ and explore opportunities/tools/ways of working

Stockton-on-TeesStockton on Tees

Tell us about some of the great ways your council is identifying, assessing, and supporting young carers and young adult carers.

  • Strong partnership with local authority and voluntary sector provider of services in driving the agenda forward.
  • Director of Children’s and Adults Services, Head of schools and SEN, Educational Psychologist, Commissioners of Adult Care Services are assisting to raise the profile of young carers in our Borough.
  • Adult social care professionals and care service providers are going to be attending training sessions to raise their awareness of this group of children and young people.
  • Director of Children’s and Adults Services has written to every school asking them to confirm their lead for young carers in their school.
  • Backing the young carers card in supporting young carers’ emotional health and well-being.
  • Young Carers in Schools Standards supported by the Head of Schools and SEN.

What are some of the challenges you face in implementing the new duties in the legislation?

  • Lack of clarity – who’s responsibility is it?
  • Resistance – ‘it’s not our role – we only work with adults’.
  • Cascading information on the new duties and practitioners understanding that they need to operate within those duties.

What do you hope to achieve by being a Trailblazer with the Making a step change for young carers and their families: Putting it into practice Programme?

  • Greater awareness and understanding of the duties.
  • Increased number of children’s and adults practitioners able to identify, assess and support
  • young carers.
  • Contributing to national good practice.

SandwellSandwell – coming soon!

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