Carers, employment and services (CES)

The Centre for International Research into Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE) is responsible for the University of Leeds' research partnership within the £8m EU EQUAL Community Initiative Programme ACE 2 (Action for Carers and Employment) 2005-2007, led by Carers UK.

At the University of Leeds, our activities within the partnership have been focused on the Carers, Employment and Services (CES) study.

The research team has conducted a major new survey of working carers: men and women that provide unpaid care for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, disabled or frail, alongside their paid employment. The survey was nationwide, and included detailed study of ten localities in England, Scotland and Wales: Hertfordshire, West Sussex, Southwark, Leeds, Sheffield, Sandwell, Falkirk, East Ayrshire, Anglesey and Swansea.

The research explored working carers' experiences of combining work and care, and accessing services, with a particular emphasis on the situation of ethnic minority carers, gay and lesbian carers, carers in a variety of financial circumstances, and carers living in rural and urban localities.

Researchers conducted face to face interviews with carers in selected localities, and the team explored service provision and local policy developments relating to carers and those they care for.

The findings are based on the following.

  • 1,909 responses to the CES national survey that targeted carers of working age.
  • 134 face-to-face interviews with carers, aged 25-64, living in ten selected localities in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Interviews with professionals with responsibility for carer support at the local level.
  • Detailed analysis of the 2001 Census.
  • Assessment of a wide range of documentary sources.

Project Publications

The Carers, Employment and Services (CES) reports contextualise the findings of the CES study in the wider body of available evidence, and particularly the detailed statistics about carers available from the 2001 Census, which asked a question about unpaid care in 2001 for the first time.

This report explores women’s and men’s experiences of becoming a carer: the impact of caring in the first two years, as experienced by carers of working age; the longer term impact of caring on carers’ lives when a caring role is sustained over two or more years; carers’ views and perspectives as they deal with the different ways in which caring can come to an end.

This report looks the experiences of carers who are combing unpaid care with paid work – how they manage and cope and the difficulties which sometimes arise; why some carers have left employment to care, and what this means for them and their families; the perspectives and experiences of carers who want to work but do not have a paid job.

This report discusses the many different characteristics of Britain’s 4.3 million carers of working age: carers in Britain’s ethnic minority communities; caring and its challenges for carers in rural and urban contexts; caring in different financial circumstances, and the problems faced by those who are ‘caring in poverty’; carers and how caring affects their health; caring in its various personal contexts – the relationships between carers and those they support, and the different conditions and needs of those they care for.

This report outlines recent developments affecting local service provision for sick and disabled people and their carers; differences in the arrangements made in Scotland, Wales and England under devolved government; carers in ten local contexts – differences between carers and the demand for care support at the local level; local arrangements for supporting working carers; the resources allocated to supporting carers; examples of best practice and innovation in supporting carers who wish to combine work and care.

This report describes the objectives, design and outcomes of the ACE projects; the role of research in supporting the ACE strategic aims and summary of the findings of the Carers, Employment and Services (CES) study; the work undertaken by the ACE partners in England, Scotland and Wales, and their main achievements; the role of transnational activities in ACE, and their significance for future policy-making at European level.

This report outlines them aim findings from the CES study about carers in England, Scotland and Wales, it provides a description of the study methodology; the implications of the findings for the future public policy agenda on working carers; the rationale for developing better support for working carers at local and national levels; key challenges and how they can be tackled: recommendations about policy and practice for service providers, employers, central/local government and the voluntary sector.

CES Locality reports

By Sue Yeandle, Cinnamon Bennett, Lisa Buckner, Gary Fry and Christopher Price.

Further work and publications on care and employment

Who Cares Wins

Who Cares Wins presents the findings of research conducted for Carers UK as part of the Action for Carers and Employment (ACE National) Development Partnership (ACE 1), funded through the ESF EQUAL Community Initiative Programme. Designed to explore the social and business benefits of supporting working carers, the study enabled us to do the following:

  • clarify the circumstances of carers who are in employment, and establish the policy and business context in which the situation of carers and employment should be understood.
  • identify some of the challenges which organisations and individuals face in combining employment and caring.
  • explore innovative approaches in selected organisations, which have changed the way they operate, and created workplace cultures which enable carers to continue in paid work.
  • examine why these employers think it is in their business and organisational interests to create a supportive working environment for working carers.

Action for Carers and Employment 1

This project, completed in July 2005, was the national evaluation of Carers UK’s EU EQUAL programme project, Action for Carers and Employment (ACE1).

Statistical Analysis of Data on Carers

Action for Carers and Employment 2

This report updates the estimate of the value of unpaid care published by Carers UK in 2002 in ‘Without Us…? Calculating the value of carers’ support’. Based on data available for the first time at local as well as at national level, and on comprehensive information about the time carers devote to supporting those who need their help, the report reveals just how crucial carers are to the health and social care system and to the UK’s economy.

This paper outlines key trends and developments in population ageing, life expectancy and caring responsibility. These data underpin the powerful case for a stronger focus on care as a central feature of EU social and economic policy, and Eurocarers’ lobbying position on the need for new policy measures supporting carers.

The ‘Care to take a look’ is a policy tool looking at the difference that caring makes to individuals and families and highlights the contribution that carers make to national life. It is the product of interviews with carers and of discussion and exploration with Carers UK and the ACE project team and its European partners. It is based on statistics provided by the University of Leeds.