According to the 2011 census, there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK who provide 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 expected to increase 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 2016-17, 39% of carers were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ satisfied with the support or services they and the person they care for received. This compares to 6% who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied and 16% who were ‘neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’. Between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the proportion of carers who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ satisfied decreased from 43% to 41%. The 2016-17 results are not comparable to those from previous surveys due to changes in the eligible population. See ‘About this data’ for more information.
Of the carers who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ dissatisfied with the support or services received, a higher proportion also reported that they never have enough time to care for the other people they have caring responsibilities for. A greater proportion also reported that they have had a lot of financial difficulties caused by their caring responsibilities (data not shown).
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 decreased from 42% in 2012-13 to 41% in 2014-15. In 2016-17, 39% of carers reported they ‘always’ felt involved or consulted, 31% ‘usually’ felt involved or consulted, 22% ‘sometimes’ felt involved or consulted and 8% ‘never’ felt involved or consulted.
Among carers who felt they were ‘never’ involved or consulted in discussions, more people answered that they:
- were extremely or very dissatisfied with the support or services they and the person they cared for had received from social services;
- felt they had little social contact with people and felt socially isolated;
- reported they never had enough time to care for the other people they had caring responsibilities for;
- had lots of financial difficulties caused by their caring responsibilities.
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 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 are now also included who have 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.
For more information please see the Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England: Methodology and further information.