Department of Health and Social Care
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Terms of reference for the Standing Commission on Carers

Terms of reference for the Standing Commission on Carers

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0254) issued by The Government News Network on 3 September 2007

As our society ages and changes, more individuals and families will face caring responsibilities. Care is a growing issue that will affect us all in some way in the future.

A wide-ranging consultation is currently under way on a new deal for the people that take on this important role of carer. This will continue, but the issue is of such importance that the Prime Minister has announced that a Standing Commission on Carers will be established, reporting to the Secretary of State for Health. Philippa Russell, a leading expert and advocate for carers, will work with Ivan Lewis, as Minister for Carers, to take forward this proposal.

The Standing Commission will:

Ensure the voice of carers is central to the development of Government policy;
Look at how carers will be affected by the long term issues of:

Changes in demography meaning that carers are getting older while there is growing demand
Changes in the choices people are making about how and where they want their care with more people wanting to be cared for in their own home
Changes in technology which are supporting people to live independently for longer
Changes in the caring relationships in families with, for example young and older carers
Changes in the locations of families with more people working or living in areas that are further away from those who need to be cared for
Changes in the number of adults and children with chronic conditions and mental health problems;

Have an overview of the current consultation and oversee the carers' strategy due to be published next year;

Monitor implementation of the carers' strategy and the new deal for carers.

Membership will be announced in due course. The Commission will need to pay due regard to existing and likely future fiscal and spending limits.

Secretary of State Alan Johnson welcomed the announcement:

"Today's announcement by the Prime Minister elevates the needs of carers to priority status for Government and society. Carers are remarkable people, a lifeline for the millions who rely on their compassion and dedication. As people live longer and disabled people lead fuller lives, greater numbers of people will find themselves in the role of a carer at some stage in their life. The needs of carers are, therefore, relevant to families throughout the country.

"It is fitting that Phillipa Russell, a leading expert and champion for carers, has been appointed to take forward this proposal alongside Ivan Lewis, the Minister for Carers. I have every confidence that the enthusiasm and knowledge of this partnership will drive forward the work of the Commission and provide expertise in implementing the Prime Ministers Carers' strategy next year."

Health Minister Ivan Lewis said:

"As the Minister for Carers, I'm excited at the prospect of working with Phillipa and carers organisations to tackle the major challenges we now face. The standing commission will address both short term and long-term issues. They include developing the Prime Minister's New Deal for Carers and responding to the fundamental challenges of an aging society, people choosing to receive care in their own homes, changing family structures and the need to reorganise the care system so more control is in the hands of those who use services and their carers."

Notes to Editors:
The Prime Minister announced the new Commission during his speech at the National Council of Voluntary Organisations. The full speech can be found at