The National Carers’ Strategy Monitoring Group was established in 2013 to oversee and drive delivery of the national goals contained within the National Carers’ Strategy (NCS) and to do so through meaningful and positive engagement with the Government Departments and statutory bodies charged with responsibility for implementing it. The Monitoring Group is made up of representatives from Family Carers Ireland, Care Alliance Ireland and most importantly family carers and former family carers. The Groups work is focused on three distinct areas:
- Scoring Progress: We use Governments annual progress reports to performance monitor the implementation of the NCS and assign ‘verdicts’ to each of its 41 actions (Objective Achieved, Good progress, Initial Progress, No Progress, Regressive)
- Identify Policy Priorities: Identify additional way in which objectives can be achieved and which will have maximum impact for family carers.
- Engagement with Government Departments: Meet and work in partnership with Government Departments in the implementation of the NCS and ensure family carers have the opportunity to inform and drive Strategy actions.
The NCS, published in 2012, signalled Government’s commitment to respecting carers as key care partners, and to responding to their needs across a number of policy areas. At the time of its publication, Government warned of the need to be pragmatic in terms of the limited financial resources available to deliver the Strategy, but promised that as Ireland’s economy improved so too would the level of investment allocated, and that departments would be given the opportunity to revisit the Strategy and propose additional actions. Family Carers Ireland is proud of the progress that has been achieved to date with little or no additional spending.
We acknowledge the spirit of partnership that has been shown by Government departments in working with the NCS Monitoring Group in implementing very practical changes aimed at better supporting family carers. While there has been progress, it has been limited by the lack of ring-fenced funds. Family Carers Ireland believes that the vision set out in the National Carers’ Strategy holds good; however, many of the cost-neutral actions have become dated and offer little opportunity for progression. We are therefore calling on Ireland’s new Government to commit to adequately fund a renewed Carers’ Strategy setting out a clear action plan for 2016-2020.
The full National Carers Strategy can be viewed here.