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Civil Service

Becoming ‘carer confident’ in the Civil Service

The logo of Carers Week

This week (10 to 16 June) is Carers Week 2019.

In the last Civil Service People Survey, over 67,000 of us said we were carers. These are civil servants looking after a sick or disabled friend or relative or a disabled child. Juggling work and caring can be very challenging. Helping people to achieve a good work-life balance benefits them, the person they are caring for and the Civil Service.

It is really good that departments are tackling these challenges head on and doing lots of great work to help carers thrive at work. This is a really important part of our becoming the most inclusive employer in the UK.

Carers UK recently launched a benchmarking scheme called Carer Confident. This recognises the good work being done across the public and private sectors. It encourages employers to share best practice and to find ways of improving what they provide for carers.

It is a great achievement that HMRC, DWP, MoJ and Public Health England have all now achieved accreditation under the scheme, which has three levels, starting at Level 1.

Public Health England has been accredited at Level 1, and the three departments at Level 2. This means that around half of civil servants now work in organisations recognised under the Carer Confident scheme. I am expecting more departments to achieve accreditation by Carers Rights Day in November.

Civil Service support for carers goes wider than these organisations. All 18 main departments, and a range of other CIvil Service organisations, have adopted the Carers’ Charter and the Civil Service Carer’s Passport. The charter signposts people to all the sources of help available in their organisation and beyond. The passport helps people talk to their manager about the adjustments that will help them combine work and caring.

There are lots of activities taking place across the Civil Service to mark Carers Week. Look out for details on your departmental intranet site. The Charity for Civil Servants is also a great source of help and advice. This week, they are launching a new package of support for carers through their new Carers’ Hub.

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  1. Comment by Anita Fairhurst posted on

    what we need now is for hospital appts for the ones we care for to be considered under the same rules as our own appts, by the end of each year I have practically no leave left for myself having to have had to take my disabled father in law to the hospital. all we ask for is a flexi credit up to so many days per year to help our work life balance

    • Replies to Anita Fairhurst>

      Comment by Bernie Eccles posted on

      I second this. I had to take my husband to 15 appointments in the last 12 months and it's a very difficult balancing act. We also use hospital transport which can add hours to the appointments. Hopefully the Government will eventually introduce Paid Carer's Leave.

  2. Comment by Barbra Farmer posted on

    I am happy to work for a department where carers can get support to allow them to get a little me time for their own health.

  3. Comment by Martyn Mellis posted on

    I am really pleased the Civil Service is leading the way with support for staff with caring responsibilities.

    Carers, by their nature, care - they regularly put the health of loved ones ahead of their own wellbeing.

    Many carers have little 'me time' - many will use all their leave for caring and will not have time for their own R&R and their own health suffers.

    Our staff who are carers are a really important asset and we need to look after them - we need to ensure they get the support they deserve.

    • Replies to Martyn Mellis>

      Comment by Mark posted on


      You are so right, and the fact that carers have little time to themselves to look after their own health is the most fundamental issue line managers need to understand. Both work and health can suffer as a result of this and sometimes just removing a piece of work can make all of the difference to carers' stress levels. It is also essential that line managers understand that carers' stress levels can be high for many, many years with little to no respite, increasing the possibility of mental health issues as well. It's great that this is starting to be discussed and understood.

  4. Comment by Alison Roach posted on

    I'm proud that HMRC has achieved Level 2 accreditation and well done to the other Government Departments. We need to keep raising awareness of the Civil Service Carers Passport and the benefits, for some people it will be the first time they have had a conversation with their manager about their caring role and first step to agreeing what might help.