Nottinghamshire Insight

Joint strategic needs assessment

Carers (2024)

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Topic title Carers (2024)
Topic owner Carers Integrated Commissioning Forum
Topic author(s) Anna Oliver
Topic quality reviewed February 2024
Topic endorsed by Carers Integrated Commissioning Forum, February 2024
Topic approved by Health and Wellbeing Board, April 2024
Current version April 2024
Replaces version September 2014
Linked JSNA topics

Executive summary


A person is a carer if they provide unpaid support to a family member, neighbour or friend. The person could need support because they are ill, frail, disabled, experiencing mental health issues or using drugs or alcohol.

The Care Act 2014 defines a carer as “an adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult” and “A carer is someone who helps another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life. This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation”.

The Children and Families Act 2014 defines a young carer as “a person under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person”.

The Children’s and Families Act 2014 also defines a parent carer as “a person aged 18 or over who provides or intends to provide care for a disabled child for whom the person has parental responsibility”.

A carer doesn’t necessarily have to live with the person they care for to be a carer - some carers don’t live in the same town or city as the person they care for, but their lives are still affected by their caring role. Anyone can become a carer, and often caring responsibilities for a family member, loved one, friend or neighbour can arise unexpectedly.

Unpaid carers are crucial for providing care and support to those vulnerable and in need in our society.  However, their caring role may impact significantly on their psychological and physical wellbeing and these in turn will determine the sustainability of their caring role.

This Chapter provides an insight into the prevalence of carers living in Nottinghamshire.  Using a variety of data sources, it explores areas of carer need including physical and psychological health, employment and financial support.  This chapter also gives an overview of current service provision and assets.


Nationally the 2021 Census data relating to unpaid carers shows a decrease in the overall total number of unpaid carers; down from 6.3 million to 5 million, a reduction of 1.3 million.  This means that around 9% of the population are providing unpaid care.  This may however be due to many people not recognising themselves as carers with Carers UK reporting that half of all carers (51%) took a year or more to recognise their caring role and a third taking over 3 years[1].  Carers UK instead estimate that 10.6 million, or one in five people, are an unpaid carer in the UK.  Despite the overall reported fall in the total number of carers, those carers providing 50 hours or more unpaid care has increased by 7%.  Nationally 120,000 young carers between five and seventeen are reported in the England census data.  The number of young adults aged 18 to 24 providing between 20 to 49 hours of unpaid care per week has risen from 43,950 in the 2011 census, to 71,120 in 2021.  Over the period 2010-2020, every year, 4.3 million people became unpaid carers[2].

Locally, the 2021 Census data regarding carers, despite the impact of COVID-19 and estimates by Carers UK, shows that there has been an overall decrease in the number of carers in the previous decade by 8,526 across Nottinghamshire County.  The latest census estimated that 41,649 carers providing between 1-19 hours of care per week – down by 15,777 since the 2011 Census.  However, those carers providing over 50 hours of care per week has increased by 2,819 from 21,680 to 24,499.

Unmet need and gaps

From feedback received from carers it is clear that there are additional requirements to support both working carers and parent-carers.  Parent-carers in particular report being unsure regarding where their parenting role ends and their caring role begins and therefore find it difficult to access support in their own right.  The new Carers Hub service are able to provide support to parent-carers but further work is required to ensure that all areas are aware of this service offer so that carers are able to access the support provided.

The State of Caring Report (2019) states that “providing support for carers, especially those looking to stay in, or return to, paid work is essential if women are to be able to participate fully in the economy and live a life free from poverty in older age”.  The report also states that “increasing numbers of employers are recognising the importance of supporting carers in their workforce to continue working, so they can retain talented staff rather than incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new employees”.  It is important therefore that we work with provider services, including statutory services, to ensure that provision of support is available and accessible to carers who work.

Additionally, whilst the data shows that the vast majority of carers in Nottinghamshire are white there is a danger that this may lead to carers from ethnic minority backgrounds not receiving the support they need or being engaged in coproduction activities to ensure that services meet their needs.  The new Carers Hub service has been specifically tasked with broadening support to all communities as part of the new contract.

Recommendations for consideration





Review and streamline the provision of short breaks for carers to ensure a range of options are available for those who require them.  Educate staff to enable effective commissioning of available short breaks.

Nottinghamshire County Council Integrated Strategic Commissioning


Ensure carers needs and the caring situation is considered throughout all aspects of social care provision through whole family assessments to move away from silo working and ensure that the needs of the whole family (including the carer) are met in the most appropriate way.  As part of this keeping carers informed about outcomes and next steps through feedback.

Principal Social Worker


Work proactively with the assistive technology work programme to ensure carer needs are encapsulated in equipment specifications (e.g. the need for alternative monitoring for people with dementia to provide a break for the carer or the use of electronic reminder services for medications and appointments to free up carer time/reduce visits)

Nottinghamshire County Council Integrated Strategic Commissioning


Develop a single point of access for carers so that they are aware of where to go for information and advice without being overwhelmed with information

Carers Hub Service


Support carers to plan for the future including a change in their needs as well as those for the person they are caring for.  This will involve early conversations with carers to plan for future changes and contingency planning for emergency situations

Carers Hub Service


Ensure easily accessible information and advice (including support and finance) is available when it is required including out of standard office hours.  This will need to be supported by face-to-face support and connecting to services rather than signposting.

Carers Hub Service through coproduction activity


Support young carers as they transition from children to adult services to ensure that they continue to receive support whilst maximising their potential to take up educational, employment and social opportunities.

Carers Hub Service and Young Carers Support Service


Develop support for parent-carers specific to their caring role.

Carers Hub Service in coproduction with parent-carers


Review the current young carers assessment tool to bring in line with strength-based approaches and ensure that support provided achieves the appropriate outcomes for the young carers

Integrated Strategic Commissioning, Children and Families Service and Operational teams in coproduction with young people and families


Ensure carers are identified and offered support at the earliest opportunity including through schools and primary care to prevent a crisis from occurring

All system partners and commissioned services


Ensure that carers needs in relation to Severe Multiple Disadvantage are recognised as part of the assessment and whole family process utilising a multidisciplinary approach to support people within this group and prevent self-neglect.  Improve data recording to determine impact of this area on carers and inform future service and support planning.

All partners


Ensure that carers have equal access to support in a way that is suitable and appropriate for them and their family needs.  This will include carers who may not have English as their first language (including BSL), carers from ethnic minority backgrounds, support that is appropriate to religious needs or those who find it difficult to access statutory services during office hours due to work commitments.

All system partners and commissioned services



Key contacts

Anna Oliver                                                                
Commissioning Manager, Ageing Well            

Dan Godley                                                               
Senior Commissioning Officer                                                  

Sarah Wells                                                              
Commissioning Officer         


This is an online synopsis of the topic which shows the executive summary and key contacts sections. To view the full document, please download it.

Full report »