Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004

The Act gives Carers more choice and opportunities to lead a more fulfilling life, by ensuring that they receive information about their rights to assessment, and to training and work opportunities.

It should achieve three main things:

  • Ensure that work, life-long learning and leisure are considered when a carer is assessed
  • Give local authorities new powers to enlist the help of housing, health, education and other local authorities in providing support to carers
  • Ensure that carers are informed of their rights.
Work, training, education and leisure

The Act amends both the Carers [Recognition and Services] Act 1995 and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 by ensuring that carer's assessments must include consideration of whether carers work, or wish to work, and are undertaking or wish to undertake, education, training or any leisure activity.

Duty to inform

The Act states that the local authority must inform the carer, including a person with parental responsibility for a disabled child, the following:

  • that he or she may be entitled to a carer’s assessment.
  • The assessment must take into consideration the carer’s wish, or need to work, have a break or enter training or life-long learning opportunities, whilst caring
  • other parts of the local authority should ensure that they work with social services, if social services asks for their assistance, to deliver the aims set out by the Act.

Children with caring responsibilities

The Act also includes children under the age of 16 with caring responsibilities. Informing children of their right to an assessment must be undertaken in the context of family assessments and undertaken in an appropriate manner.

Co-operation between authorities

A Local Authority can request any Local Education Authority, Housing Authority, or Health Authority to assist in the planning of carers' services.

NB
The Act stresses that the services in question could be provided either to the carer or to the disabled person. This would be important where, for example, leisure services work to support the disabled person, whilst the carer does other things, or joins them in the leisure acitivity.


Last Updated: April 2013
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