Just like other users, carers should be offered support to have a strong voice. This can be through:
- language support (including for blind, deaf, deaf blind, hard of hearing)
- accessibility of any venues
- accessible websites.
Carers involved in planning or training will appreciate having the chance to share their experiences with other carers or professionals involved with carers support. This can also help individual carers to have a less personal and more representative approach.
This training can be facilitated through the carers centres and schemes or carers support organisation.
Hints and tips for including carers
Carers may need support to get involved. This should include:
Timing and location of meetings
These may need to be varied to meet the needs of all the carers. It may be easier for some carers in the middle of the working day and others may prefer weekends. The venue needs to be easily accessible by car or on public transport. Offer to reimburse travel expenses.
Alternative methods of having their say: not just using meetings and events
Try having a webcast for those who cannot attend, or at least a record up on your website so that carers can email comments or votes. Visit the good practice examples page to see for how one local authority did this.
Some carers may need to make arrangements for the person they care for to be looked after while they are at the meeting. This will generally be charged for, so it is helpful to make it clear that you will reimburse the costs incurred.
A small fee recognising the expert contribution made by a carer is in line with arrangements made for service users who are consulted or used for training in similar circumstances.