The spring Wales Hub Employers for Carers (EfC) networking event took place on 28 March 2019 and was gratefully hosted by Cardiff Council at County Hall. The theme of the event was on Carer Passports and we again welcomed a mixture of member and non-member organisations to the evening.
The event was opened and chaired by Sara Williams, Wales Hub Manager for EfC who provided an overview of the key findings for Wales from Carers UK's ‘Juggling Work and Care Report’. In Wales this has equated to an increase from 180,000 carers also balancing paid work to 223,000 (1 in 7 of the workforce). Sara also emphasised that the number one request to support working carers within the survey was a supportive line manager/organisation, this was above flexible working and paid carers leave. Once again showing that simply talking about caring in the workplace can have more impact than any other intervention.
Sara then introduced the topic of Carer Passports – a tool used in the workplace to help provide consistency in support for carers in the workforce. This is a working document which helps identify areas of support that could assist the employee in better balancing their caring role with their work.
Two EfC members then shared their organisation's personal experiences on Carer Passports; Deborah Fry, Cardiff Council talked about how this passport was the first time they had received no feedback from the Trade Unions who were all highly positive of the initiative. It was great to hear about the positive reception to the passport so far, how it had been relatively easy to implement as they already had a disability adjustment passport in place and that line managers immediately understood how this document could be used with their teams.
Sara then gave a presentation on behalf of DVLA who launched their carer passport on Carers Rights Day (30th November) 2018. They have also received fantastic feedback from their line mangers who appreciated the guidance the passport gives to starting the conversation around working carers. However, they are keen to gain more feedback from carers themselves and it was highlighted how often there can be challenges gaining feedback from carers as they are so often already stretched to capacity.
The event was brought to a close with a call to action for every organisation present to go back and implement some form of activity for Carers Week (10 – 16 June 2019). The theme this year is 'Getting Carers Connected' and employers were urged to connect with carers in their workforce throughout the week. The presentations were followed by an energetic informal networking session with discussions about how best to raise awareness of carers across the workforce and how to start or reinvigorate peer support carers networks.
Our next Wales Hub networking event will be in autumn 2019, with further details to follow soon, and the location will likely be moved west to Swansea.
If you would like to present at the event and share your organisation’s progress, experiences or policies around carers’ networks (which will be the next theme), please email firstname.lastname@example.org