Support for Carers

shadow ball

National Context

The NHS Operating Framework 2012/13 recognises that carers play a vital role in our system and must receive help and support from local organisations.  Key messages from the Operating Framework are:

  • A joint assessment of local needs with plans being agreed and signed off by both local authorities and PCT clusters
  • Financial contributions made to support carers should be identified and that any transfer of funds from the NHS to local authorities is through a section 256 agreement
  • Identification of how much of the total financial contribution is being spent on carers breaks and to identify an indicative number of breaks that should be available within that funding.


Local Context

The North Essex Integrated Plan 2012/13 acknowledges the track record of collaborative working between health and social care to provide support for carers.  The drive within the Integrated Plan is the agreement in principal to a renewed focus on support for carers and a joint approach between health and social care across Essex which includes looking at available resources and joint commissioning for carers.


What the North Cluster is doing

The need for closer working between health and social care in order to support carers has been recognised and the Health and Wellbeing Board has agreed to develop a common set of carers commissioning intentions and arrangements.  This has led to an Essexwide project board being established to develop a joint commission strategy for carers of which representatives from the North Cluster are active participants.  The draft joint commissioning strategy has been developed by looking at the evidence of need and taking into account information from carers, providers and partners.  The project board is in the process of finalising the commissioning strategy which identifies the key commissioning ideas going forward.  The next steps are for the project board to approve the strategy and start to develop a delivery plan of how carers services will be commissioned including a prioritisation exercise to establish which elements of the programme should be commissioned over the short, medium and long term.

Across the Cluster a programme of work is in place to support carers and the table below indicates the financial commitment for the work programmes, including the combined amount being spent on breaks and other activities to support carers.

Financial commitments for 2012/13


Breaks (£)

Other (£)

Total Budget (£)

Indicative No of breaks

 @£13.50 x 4hrs

Essex County Council (ECC) covering the North Cluster






North Essex Cluster inc Voluntary Sector Partnership Fund











Mid Essex





North East Essex





West Essex





(1)  There are elements in this section that might form part of a wider definition of a break.

(2)  Some Third Sector organisations supported by the Voluntary Sector Partnership Fund provide respite as part of their overall service. 

Moving Forward

The draft Joint Commissioning Strategy for Carers has been discussed by the Project Board and is now being taken through partners internal governance structures for final agreement.  This could result in some minor amendments to the document and therefore this website will be updated once all partners have agreed the strategy.  Work is underway on developing the commissioning intentions as part of the strategy.

Joint Commissioning Strategy for Carers