This third annual EfC members’ event on the theme of "Carers networks: Factors for success" was hosted by KPMG at their landmark offices in Canada Square, and was very well attended again this year. With wonderful hospitality provided by our hosts, the event provided an opportunity to discuss examples of latest initiatives to support workplace carers networks and identify the critical factors for success.
The event was opened by Professor Hilary Thomas, Partner and Chief Medical Adviser at KPMG, and was chaired by Ian Peters, Chair of EfC.
Ian welcomed our newest EfC members, who had joined since our last event at the end of June: Norton Rose Fulbright, The Centre for Ageing Better, Hospice UK, Involve Kent, Pharmacist Support, Santander and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, who have become our first member based in Northern Ireland. EfC now has over 125 member organisations covering around 1.25 million employees across the UK.
Leng Montgomery, Diversity and Inclusion Executive at Sainsbury’s and Liz Chang, Parents and Carers Network Co-Chair at Santander UK, shared their experiences of supporting relatively recently established carers networks. This was followed by David Grayson, Professor of Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield School of Management and the Chair of Carers UK, who highlighted key insights on networks from his recently published book, Take Care: How to be a Great Employer for Working Carers.
This prompted an excellent and lively audience-led discussion covering a range of factors for success in setting up and sustaining successful workplace networks, including identifying key learning points from wider workplace networks. Practical examples explored included: the importance of social media channels in raising awareness and keeping carers connected (especially within a dispersed workforce); insights gained by inviting carers to share their experiences, views and support needs; and the three-fold benefits of some networks in providing peer support, signposting to resources and information, and a channel for further workplace adjustments or support.
Other issues raised included the value of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ championing of networks and the importance of informing and skilling up line managers on carer support. We will be incorporating this shared knowledge into our EfC members’ resources and highlighted our forthcoming plans to enhance our package of support, including making our line manager e-learning course available free to EfC members.
Thank you to everyone who attended.