The Care Act 2014 significantly improved the rights of unpaid carers, consolidating previous legislation and enhancing rights to assessment and support. Implementing these new rights has been a focus of work for local authorities, support providers, NHS services and others in the year since the Act came into force on 1 April 2015, in the context of significant financial constraint.

One year on from the implementation date is an important point at which to take stock of how the changes to legislation are being implemented and the impact the legislation is having.

The UK charity Carers Trust has asked Rt Hon Prof Paul Burstow to convene a Commission to examine:

  1. Whether the new areas of the law for carers are being implemented fully.
  2. What changes for carers are emerging as a result of the Care Act.
  3. What impact have these changes had on care providers, local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary sector? 
  4. Whether there are particular issues which have helped or hindered effective implementation.
  5. Examples of good and innovative practice, including in co-production and personalisation; provisions working well and producing positive outcomes; or unanticipated positive consequences.
  6. Examples where provisions are not being implemented, implementation varies significantly from area to area, or there are unintended negative consequences.
  7. Whether there is adequate monitoring and data available to enable scrutiny of the implementation of the Act and support the design and Commissioning of appropriate services. 
  8. Whether changes to legislation, regulations or guidance, or the interpretation of these, or other matters, can be recommended to ensure the aspirations of the Care Act are achieved for carers. 
  9. Whether there is a need for future research and evidence into how the Care Act is being implemented for carers.

Specific areas of new legislation the panel intends to consider are:

  1. The prevention duty including identification of carers, and duties to provide information advice and advocacy.
  2. Assessment, support planning and whole family approaches.
  3. Eligibility decision making.
  4. Transition to adulthood for young adult carers.
  5. Personalisation, personal budgets and direct payments for carers’ own support. 
  6. Charging - including interaction with charging for people with care needs, and impact of charging on carers and care providers.
  7. Integration and co-operation with the NHS in relation to carer identification and support.
  8. Choice and diversity in the care and support market.
  9. Impact on new legislation on parents of disabled children aged under 18.


The Commission will focus primarily on provisions of the Care Act relating to unpaid carers in England, who are caring or intend to provide unpaid care for one or more adults.  The Commission may also take account of the impact of legislative change on people with care needs, and of the Children and Families Act for parent carers of disabled children. The Commission will not focus in depth on issues relating to young carers aged under 18, apart from the transition arrangements under the Care Act, as work elsewhere is undertaking significant work on this issue (The Making A Step Change project, undertaken by Carers Trust and The Children’s Society funded by the Department for Education).