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Carers and caring

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 gives carers specific rights and places a range of duties on the local authority. The Act came into effect on 1 April 2018, it extends and enhances the rights of carers in Scotland to help improve their health and wellbeing, so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, and have a life alongside caring. Our Carers Strategy sets out the work we are progressing to support both Adult and Young Carers.

There are estimated to be 780,000 carers in Scotland, (17% of the adult population). It is estimated of those 29,000 are young carers. It is also estimated that 38,023 people are carers within South Lanarkshire.

Equal Partners in Care (EPiC) have produced Core Principles for working with carers and young carers. This document supports partners working together to achieve better outcomes for carers and young carers.

Caring can be both rewarding and demanding and we understand that to enable carers to maintain their caring role if they so wish we must support them with information, advice, supports and services. Our approach is to work with our partners, driving the delivery of services that meet the needs of carers at the time they need it. We fund a variety of dedicated carer organisations who through partnership working will deliver a range of services in the community alongside the traditional services offered directly from us in the local authority and the health board through the Health and Social Care Partnership.

The Health and Social Care Partnership can help you to be assessed to ensure your needs are met or we can signpost you to a wide range of organisations many of which are funded directly by the HSCP.

Lanarkshire Carers and Action for Children are the main commissioned services in South Lanarkshire. To find out more about the resources they can offer please visit their websites:

Lanarkshire Carers

Action for Children

A Partnership Statement has been developed to clarify roles and responsibilities that will ensure that carers rights are met through a clear and effective partnership between Lanarkshire Carers and the Health and Social Care Partnership.


If your assessment deems your support needs to be low or moderate, there are a range of options available to you. Lanarkshire Carers host funds for Creative Breaks and have a Respitality Register for South Lanarkshire carers where you may be able to make an application for a short break.

If your assessment deems your support needs to be substantial or critical and “eligible needs” are identified you may receive a carers budget. If you receive an individual budget you can decide which of the self-directed support funding options to choose. You can also seek information about Self-directed Support from Take Control or direct from your local social work office.

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 sets out a duty to local authorities to prepare and make known their eligibility criteria for carers.

Eligibility Criteria

The Scottish Government has instructed local authorities to set their own eligibility criteria for carers, recognising that there needs to be fairness of provision, whilst offering support to carers on a preventative basis.

What is Local Eligibility Criteria?

Put simply: it is the set of rules used to see if carers have a support need and what level that need is at. This decision-making tool helps to identify who is eligible for what type of support and will ensure carers are appropriately supported.

The right level and type of support if achieved would reduce the impact of caring and the associated risks which will allow the carer to continue in their caring role if they so wish.

What are "eligible needs"?

The Adult Carer Support Plan or Young Carers Statement will formally record the needs identified and outcomes of carers; the plan will be used to assess the needs of carers. Some of these needs will 'trigger' support; they will be 'eligible needs' and the eligibility criteria will show how these needs fall into the 'eligibility category'. The statutory guidance on the Carers (Scotland) Act describes, " a Carers eligible needs as those identified for support that cannot be met through support to the person they care for or through accessing services that are available generally".

The council's policy for adult carers is to support substantial and critical needs.

What does substantial or critical mean?

The focus is on the impact of care on the carer. As such, the definition of carer does not include any threshold for the level of care provided. In every situation, a proportionate approach to the preparation of the adult carer support plan or young carer statement is adopted, taking into account the impact of the caring role on the carer.

Examples of substantial or critical needs

Caring has substantial impact 

Substantial Risk

Caring has critical impact 

Critical Risk

Health and Wellbeing Carer has health needs that requires attention. Significant impact on carer's emotional wellbeing. Carer's health is breaking /has broken down. Carer's emotional wellbeing is breaking/has broken down.
Relationships The carer's relationship with the person they care for is in danger of breaking down and/or they no longer are able to maintain relationships with other key people in their life. The carer's relationship with the person they care for has broken down and their caring role is no longer sustainable and/or they have lost touch with other key people in their life.
Living Environment Carer's living environment is unsuitable and poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of the carer and/or cared for person. Carer's living environment is unsuitable and there are immediate and critical risks to the health and safety of the carer and/or cared for person.
Employment and Training Carer has significant difficulty managing caring and employment and there is a risk to sustaining employment and/or education in the short term. Carer is not in paid work or education but would like to be soon. Carer has significant difficulty managing caring and employment and/or education and there is an imminent risk of giving up work or education. Carer is not in paid work or education but would like to be now.
Finance Caring is having a significant impact on finances e.g. difficulty meeting housing costs AND utilities. Caring is causing severe financial hardship e.g. carer cannot afford household essentials and utilities, not meeting housing payments.
Life Balance Due to their caring role, the carer has few and irregular opportunities to achieve the balance they want in their life. They have little access to breaks and activities which promote physical, mental, emotional wellbeing. Due to their caring role, the carer has no opportunities to achieve the balance they want in their life. They have no access to breaks and activities which promote physical, mental, emotional wellbeing.
Future Planning Carer is anxious about planning for the future and has significant concerns about managing caring. Carer is very anxious about planning for the future and has severe concerns about managing caring.

Carers personal budgets

Only when a supported person has been assessed and a support plan agreed will a carer be considered for a “carer’s personal budget”. The budget amount will be influenced by the assessment, which will reflect the support provided by the carer, how often this support is provided, and will only be generated if the carer has agreed to an Adult Carers Support Plan.

Purchasing with carers budgets

Carer’s budgets can be used to purchase services or supports to help them in their caring role. These can range from activities that improve health and wellbeing, support to access education, or can be used to purchase respite for the supported person to enable the carer to have a short break.

What can’t I spend my Carers allocation on?

  • Anything which may unreasonably endanger any person and put their safety at risk
  • Rewards/gifts to unpaid Carers
  • Aids or adaptations
    - Continence Aids (NHS fund this)
    - to purchase equipment that should be provided by the NHS or local authority service including education
  • Expenditure on gambling or financial investments (such as stocks/sell shares)
  • Asset purchases (car, caravan, static caravan, hot tub for example)
  • Outcomes that support an illegal act
  • Household expenditures such as rent, mortgage, utility bills, replacement furniture, broadband
  • Client charges
  • Transport tickets (for example airline, rail, bus, ferry), cruises, holidays including accommodation (unless identified in the ACSP as supporting a complete break from caring).
  • Paying for things that other sources of income should cover – this includes alcohol, tobacco, grocery shopping, clothes, personal entertainment, and any other accommodation spend associated with taking a joint break
  • Pets and animal welfare

The local authority has powers and duties to provide support to carers, including a duty to consider whether support should take the form of or include a break from caring. Under sections 9(k) and 15(l) of the statutory guidance, the ACSP and YCS must contain information about whether support should be provided in the form of a break from caring.

The intention of these provisions is to ensure local authorities consider breaks tailored to the needs of individual carers as a mainstream form of support.

This requires local authorities to consider with each individual carer if their personal outcomes and needs for support should be met by a break from caring. It does not create a duty to provide a break from caring in every case. The form of support that enables a break from caring will frequently include provision of ‘replacement care’ for the cared-for person, either on its own or alongside other services that the local authority can provide under section 24 of the Act.

‘Replacement care’ is not a term used in the Act. It is used in the guidance as a shorthand to cover care provided to the cared-for person, which replaces care previously given by the carer and which is provided as a form of support to the carer so the carer can have a break from caring. Other forms of support can include, for example, assistive technology, or short breaks.

Short breaks are one of many forms of support that can enable a carer to realise their personal outcomes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • holiday or leisure breaks (with or without the cared-for person);
  • sports and activity breaks (with or without the cared-for person);
  • breaks at home during the day or overnight (with support from a care at home service); and
  • play-schemes or after school clubs for the cared-for person.

The council has a responsibility to discuss carer budget expenditure with the carer and can offer advice on other agencies which may enhance their support. Charity organisations or voluntary groups may provide additional assistance which would enable carers alongside the use of a carer budget, therefore ongoing discussions surrounding the best use of the budget is crucial.

The council will undertake periodic financial reviews of direct payments to ensure that it has been used in accordance with the agreed outcome support plan and will recover any unspent funds beyond the agreed contingency level.

Short Breaks Service

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 places a new duty on all local authorities to prepare and publish a Short Breaks Services Statement. The local authority must publish a statement that will allow local carers to be able to understand and access the necessary information in the statement allowing them to:

  • Recognise the short breaks services available in Scotland for carers and cared-for persons. The information must be accessible to, and proportionate to the needs of the persons to whom it is provided.
  • The Scottish Ministers may by regulations make further provision about the preparation, publication, and review of short breaks services statements.

The Short Breaks Service Statement is currently under review.

Useful resources for carers

As a carer, you may be concerned about how coronavirus will impact your health, the health of the person you care for, and/or your caring role. Lanarkshire Carers have provided some useful information and guidance to help you understand the current situation and the impact this will have on their services. The Scottish Government has also issued advice for unpaid carers on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is a wide range of resources available both locally and nationally for carers. Carers can use these links to go directly to the websites of the listed organisations to find out about the range of supports and services available.

Many of these organisations will be able to offer carers information, advice, guidance, and signposting.

Carer support organisations

Alzheimer Scotland

Lanarkshire Carers

Lanarkshire Links


South Lanarkshire Young Carers Service (Action for Children)

Take Control

The Haven

Rutherglen Community Carers

Speak Out

National carer organisations

Carers Scotland


Carers Trust Scotland

Shared Care Scotland

Crossroads Caring Scotland

Coalition of Carers Scotland

Care Information Scotland

Emergency planning

Social Work Emergency Services

Enable - Emergency Planning

Anticipatory care planning

NHS services

NHS Lanarkshire

For the person you care for

Self-directed Support

Assistive Technology