According to the 2011 census, there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK providing unpaid care for ill, older or disabled family members and friends (Carers UK, 2014). Carers are a key part of social care services. The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England was developed to learn more about whether services are helping them in their caring role and life outside of caring, and about their perception of services provided to the person they care for.
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?". Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, the proportion of respondents who were 'extremely', 'very' or 'quite' satisfied decreased from 77% to 71%. The proportion of respondents who were 'extremely', 'very' or 'quite' dissatisfied increased from 10% in 2012-13 to 13% in 2016-17. Note that people who answered 'we have not received any support or services from Social Services in the last 12 months' were excluded for comparison purposes.
These results contrast with those from the Adult Social Care Survey which is sent to adult social care service users. In 2016-17, 89% of respondents said that they were 'extremely', 'very' or 'quite' satisfied with the care and support services they receive, which is significantly higher than we might have expected based on the results from the Carer's Survey. This may reflect differences in the demographic of respondents, and the fact that carers were reporting about their own satisfaction as well as the satisfaction of the person they care for.
Carers should be involved as much as possible in discussions about the service design 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, between 2012-13 and 2016-17, the proportion of respondents who 'always' felt involved or consulted decreased from 42% to 39%. The Proportion of respondents who 'never' felt involved or consulted increased from 6% to 8% over the same time period.
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.