This EfC members event was our first of 2018, and was hosted by Nationwide at their offices on Threadneedle Street. The event was one of our best attended yet, providing an excellent platform for discussion around the theme of “Managing in the middle: Line management support for working carers.”
The event was opened by Tracy Conwell, Head of Employee Relations at Nationwide, and was chaired by Ian Peters, our Chair of EfC.
Ian welcomed our newest EfC members since our last event in October: Ofcom, The Charity for Civil Servants, Royal Surgical Aid Society, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley, Norfolk, Oldham, Plymouth and Wakefield Councils. EfC now has over 100 member organisations covering around 1.25 million employees across the UK.
Ian shared the developments and projects in sight for EfC, including the employer benchmarking scheme which is due to pilot until July. There has been a great response so far from EfC members interested in taking part, and we encourage any other members to get in touch if they are too.
Our speakers gave insightful talks covering a range of ideas. First we heard from Scott Corley, Service Improvement Partner at the Financial Ombudsman Service, who kindly shared his personal story which led him to join the Carers Network. He spoke about what steps the FOS have taken to raise awareness of caring issues, including their use of a Carer Passport and their recently introduced policy of paid carers leave. Next we heard from Nikunj Upadhyay, Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays, who spoke about Barclays’ latest work to embed flexibility in their workplace, particularly through education and support activities for managers as part of their Dynamic Working Campaign. Their Dynamic Working white paper captures their journey and learning and can be downloaded here.
The topic of Carer Passports was also discussed by Emily Holzhausen, Head of Policy and Public Affairs here at Carers UK. We heard from Emily about their use and the potential benefits to businesses and carers. The subject of GDPR and the possible impact this could have on the tool was raised during the Q&A and a follow-up note is now attached to this page (see below).
Professor Sue Yeandle, Professor of Sociology and Director of CIRCLE, (Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities), University of Sheffield, updated members about the ground-breaking Sustainable Care research programme she is leading, and the opportunity for EfC members to engage. Running until April 2021, the programme includes a Work Package on support for carers in the workplace and how this can be measured. The University has introduced a new PhD studentship focusing on understanding the contribution of employer provisions and support. A postdoctoral fellow has also been appointed to examine what can be learned and more widely applied to modernise business organisation and HR management in this area. A key part of this work will be engaging with EfC and this will be an excellent opportunity to evidence and add impact to the work that members are doing. Please contact us if you are interested in participating.
Michael Shann, Head of Membership and Volunteering at Carers UK, also spoke to the group about becoming a Carers UK Workplace Champion Volunteer. You can read more about this here.
The presentations were followed by a lively Q&A session with key themes such as: the benefits of identifying carers from a business/line manager perspective, as well as for carers themselves being able to access support; the importance of senior sponsorship of carer support, including as champions and ‘case studies’ in empowering line managers to address this within their teams; and the benefits of the ‘carer passport’ model as a useful tool to help managers and carers discuss caring issues and support. Many participants shared their personal experiences both as managers and as carers, making the discussions diverse and powerful for all members, across all sectors.
Our next Members Networking Event will be hosted by Mercer, in London, on Thursday 27th June, further details to follow soon. If you would like to present at the event and share your organisation’s progress, experiences or policies, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org