Council receives top award for carer-friendly culture
West Dunbartonshire has become the first council in Scotland to be awarded ‘Exemplary’ status for its support of employees who are also carers.
The award is Carers Scotland’s highest level of recognition for organisations which support their staff with caring responsibilities, and West Dunbartonshire Council is one of only five employers in Scotland to have received it.
It follows receipt of Carers Scotland’s ‘Carer Positive’ award in February last year, which was upgraded from ‘Engaged’ to ‘Established’ just four months later in June. West Dunbartonshire was the first council in Scotland to achieve this, and showed the Council had progressed from an initial level of commitment to one with an embedded culture of support for carers within the organisation.
In Scotland, around one in seven people in the workforce is currently caring for someone, and this number is forecast to rise significantly as the population gets older. The Council has in place an Employee Carers Support Network, which sees up to 30 staff attend monthly meet-ups and around 60 opt in to regular emails about the service.
Councillor Kath Ryall, Convener of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Corporate Services Committee, said: “The Council is dedicated to protecting the welfare of vulnerable people and promoting independence for our older residents. Supporting carers is integral to delivering on that, so it is fantastic that the Council has met the top level of recognition for our support of employees with caring responsibilities – especially in less than a year.”
Councillor Tommy Rainey, Vice-Convener of the committee, added: “Being a carer can be very stressful, and balancing caring responsibilities with paid employment extremely challenging. It is therefore vital that the Council does everything it can to support our staff in that position, and it is wonderful to hear the organisation is seeing some success in this area. I must congratulate everyone involved in helping us meet the Exemplary criteria, and making a difference to our dedicated staff means even more than the award itself.”
Sue McLintock, Carer Positive Awards Manager at Carers Scotland, said: “I am delighted to present West Dunbartonshire Council with its Carer Positive Exemplary award. It is clear to me that there is genuine commitment to supporting staff with caring responsibilities within the organisation, and the work the Council has undertaken to progress the range of support in this space of time is really impressive.”