The Civil Service Carers Network (CSCN) brings together representatives from 34 carers networks across the Civil Service and our membership continues to grow.
A carer is anyone who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
The 2018 People Survey showed that at least 67,000 civil servants recognised themselves as being carers. Put another way, that equates to 24% of those who responded to the question about caring.
Every carer will be faced with a unique situation that can demand their time and focus and that is likely to be demanding emotionally and physically. Research suggests that carers tend to suffer greater mental and physical stress than non-carers and do not look after themselves as well as they should, because they are so committed to the person/s they care for and put them first.
The aims of the CSCN
Being a carer can often mean you do not have time to find support for yourself. With that in mind, the CSCN has three areas of focus:
Knowledge & Experience
- To create a forum for the networks to work together to share knowledge, experience, and resources.
- To collectively share practical tips and experience.
Diversity, Equality & Inclusion
- To promote a positive workplace culture for carers across the Civil Service.
- To raise awareness of the business benefits of supporting carers in the workplace.
Influence & collaboration
- To act as a critical friend to help the Civil Service develop and improve the support it provides to our civil servants who are carers.
What have we achieved?
The CSCN exists to support those networks that provide direct support to carers in Civil Service departments and other public bodies. This has involved the CSCN in leading cross-Civil Service events for carers, being a point of contact for external bodies supporting carers in general, and working directly with Rupert McNeil (Government Chief People Officer) to support policy development and roll-out.
Civil Service Carer policy and support
The following materials are designed to provide a source of guidance and support for carers juggling caring responsibilities while working. They are held locally within each Civil Service organisation:
- The Carers Charter: This document is the one-stop shop for departmental policies and support for employees who have caring responsibilities and for their managers.
- The Civil Service Carers Passport: The purpose of the passport is to enable a carer and their manager to hold a supportive conversation and document the flexibilities needed to support the carer in combining caring and work. It also supports the carer when moving roles and should be a living document that can be updated to reflect any changes to caring responsibilities.
- Guidance for managers of carers: Further to the information in the Carers Charter, the CSCN has supported local networks in developing their own carers awareness guidance for managers. It is vital that managers have an awareness of carers issues and understand what it can be like to be a carer, including the hours that can be involved, and are aware of the practical benefits of the Civil Service Carers Passport.
- Carers wellbeing: Each Civil Service organisation will have its own support arrangements for staff who require it, such as the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) (this is soon to be replaced by a different service). Carers also need to be able to take care of themselves, and access to such support is vital and is promoted across the different carer networks.
If you have further questions…
We would encourage you to contact your local carers network and/or check your organisation's intranet site for further support. Each local network will have tailored information available that draws on the cross-government policy and the wider carers support sector.
If you are having difficulty finding your local network, then please do speak to your line manager or contact your HR team for help.
For further information about the CSCN, contact the Co-Chairs: Cilla Christmas (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mark Munts (email@example.com).