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Older carers of people with learning disabilities: their experiences with local authority assessment processes and personnel

Rachel Forrester-Jones (Centre for Analysis of Social Policy, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, Bath, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 1 June 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021




Amongst other actions the Care Act 2014 emphasised the duties of local authorities (LA) to assess the needs of carers, as well as those they care for and to meet all eligible needs for support. This paper aims to report the findings of a study which explored the experiences of older carers of people with learning disabilities as they navigated LA assessment processes and personnel.


Using an explorative design, 21 older carers were interviewed about their experiences. Interview transcripts were qualitatively analysed.


Three main themes were identified, namely, needs assessments as ambitions, not outcomes; the effects of funding-cuts projected onto carers; and challenges with social care personnel.


The study findings attracted a high level of engagement with public awareness and mainstream news and social media. The LA also immediately responded with interventions to address some of the findings, including carer “drop-in” sessions. They are also adapting their carer’s needs assessment processes as a result of the study. It is hoped that the issues raised will be of interest to other social care providers and practitioners.



The author would like to thank Awards for All for funding the research and Liz Rolfs for all her help and support. Most of all, the author thanks the 21 carers who are so giving, have achieved so much, yet remain humble and good humoured. The author confirms that the views expressed in this paper are those of the author’s and not necessarily the funders or commissioners of the research.Funder: Awards for All – Grant number 18–03244.


Forrester-Jones, R. (2021), "Older carers of people with learning disabilities: their experiences with local authority assessment processes and personnel", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 105-113.



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