There are an estimated 8.8 million carers in the UK, providing unpaid care for ill, older or disabled family members and friends. With an ageing population and people living longer with multiple chronic conditions, this number is increasing rapidly. The Survey of Adult Carers in England seeks the opinions of carers on the support they and the person they care for have received from social services, and whether they are able to live a balanced life alongside their caring role.
Satisfaction with support or services is directly associated with a positive experience of care and support. The survey asks carers, “Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the support or services you and the person you care for have received from Social Services in the last 12 months?”
In 2018/19, 38.7% of carers were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ satisfied with the support or services they and the person they care for had received, compared with 39% in 2016/17. 7.2% of carers were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied in 2018/19, compared with 6.3% in 2016/17. Neither of these changes was statistically significant.
Between 2012/13 and 2014/15, the proportion of carers who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ satisfied decreased from 43.1% to 41.1%, and the proportion who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied increased from 4.3% to 5.1%. The 2016/17 results are not comparable with those from previous surveys due to changes in the definition of the eligible population. See ‘About this data’ for more information.
Carers should be involved as much as possible in discussions about how services are designed for the individuals they care for, as this has been shown to improve outcomes for both the carer and the cared-for person. The survey asks carers, "In the last 12 months, do you feel you have been involved or consulted as much as you wanted to be, in discussions about the support or services provided to the person you care for?”
Excluding carers who reported there had been no discussions that they were aware of, the proportion of carers who ‘always’ felt involved or consulted remained relatively constant between 2016/17 (39.4%) and 2018/19 (39.7%). The proportion who ‘never’ felt involved or consulted also stayed similar in 2016/17 (7.7%) and 2018/19 (7.8%).
Feeling involved in discussions about the support or services provided to the cared-for person was the greatest factor influencing carers’ overall satisfaction. Carers who felt more involved in discussions reported a greater level of satisfaction than those who did not feel involved (data not shown). Ease of access to information about support, services or benefits was also a major factor influencing carers’ satisfaction.
About this data
The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England (SACE) is a biennial survey that took place for the first time in 2012/13. The survey covers informal, unpaid carers aged 18 or over, caring for a person aged 18 or over. The survey seeks the opinions of carers on a number of topics that are considered to be indicative of a balanced life alongside their unpaid caring role.
In 2016/17, the definition of the eligible population changed so that in addition to including carers that have had a carer’s assessment or review from the local authority in the 12 months prior to the survey taking place, carers were also included who had not been assessed or reviewed during the previous 12 months. The results from the survey are weighted to make inferences (or estimates) about the whole eligible population of carers. These estimates and findings are subject to a degree of uncertainty.
There are no results available for 2020/21 due to the additional pressures that Covid-19 has brought on services. The next survey will take place in 2021/22 and is yet to be published.