Review of unpaid carers support across Neath Port Talbot
Members of Neath Port Talbot Council were given an update on the situation with unpaid carers in the borough this month, after hearing how the authority currently has the highest number of unpaid carers in Wales.
Councillors in attendance at a Social Services, Housing and Community Safety Cabinet Board on June 8, discussed how a forthcoming review of services would soon be undertaken by the Ombudsman, to assess how Neath Port Talbot Council uses third sector organisations to carry out care assessments in the area.
The cabinet also heard the results from its own review, which was carried out by officers to assess potential areas of improvement, as well as the steps that can be taken to better support unpaid carers in the borough.
The report, which was presented during National Carers Week, highlighted the importance of the provision for residents, stating how the county borough had the highest number of unpaid carers in Wales, as well as the joint highest proportion of disabled people in the country.
It read: “Neath Port Talbot local authority area has the highest proportion of people who provide any amount unpaid care. It also has the highest proportion of people who provide 50 or more hours of care a week, as well as having the joint highest proportion of disabled people in Wales.
“Furthermore, it has a high proportion of localities classified as the most deprived in Wales, and data shows a high correlation between higher percentage of people providing unpaid care in the most deprived areas.”
In response, officers said they had appointed a new principal officer within adult services in 2022, with a remit of community support services, prevention and early intervention, including the oversight of provision for unpaid carers.
It was also noted how Neath Port Talbot was unique in its delivery of unpaid carer support, as the only area that commissions all provision to a third sector provider, the Neath Port Talbot Carer Service.
While the Ombudsman will now carry out its assessment in the coming months, a number of areas for improvement have already been discussed by the local authority.
These included improving access to support by lowering waiting lists for carer assessments, as well as strengthening the connection between services for adult carers and young carers, particularly with how they are tracked as they age and progress through the system.
Other target areas focused on information sharing between social care
and the Neath Port Talbot Carers Service, along with developing a “whole-system” view of the carer’s journey.
By BBC LDRS
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