Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Evaluation of the Caring with Confidence Programme

June 2008 - June 2011

The evaluation examined the way the Caring With Confidence programme (which aimed to provide support to 37,000 carers in England and was the largest programme of training for carers ever planned in the UK, with a total budget of £15.2m over three years) was set up, its impact as a source of support of carers in England, and the outcomes of the programme as perceived by both carers and the providers delivering it.

The evaluation drew upon a range of methods, including surveys and focus groups with carers, case study visits to provider sites, documentary analysis, observation of project meetings and events, and collection of management information.

Key findings

The programme was designed to provide training and support to carers, thereby giving them greater choice and control in different aspects of their lives. The evaluation found that the carers who participated in the programme were very positive about it and benefited in a number of ways, including: greater confidence in their caring roles; learning new skills; improved health and well-being; better knowledge of support services; and improvements affecting those they cared for.

A prescriptive and centrally planned approach to the programme design was taken, focussing on high quality, standardised training, comprising a flexible, modular training programme delivered by trained facilitators, based in local training providers. Ambitious targets were set relating to carer numbers, which individual providers and the programme overall had difficulty meeting. Although target number of carers were not met, the programme succeeded in registering almost 14,000 carers, well over 10,238 of whom attended at least one CwC module, with many of these (59%) being fully trained. These carers were reasonably representative of the wider population of carers, and some success was achieved in meeting targets for some particularly hard-to-reach groups.

There was no specific target cost per carer trained or number of modules attended but lower than expected carer numbers led to a relatively high cost per filled carer place. Initial high delivery costs became more manageable for some providers once they had established the programme, and a revised funding regime had the potential to deliver CwC more cost effectively than the initial model used. The report concludes with eight recommendations arising out of the CwC programme evaluation that were identified for future training and support programmes for carers.

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