Carers' rights and legislation

New carer legislation

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Bill, as passed on 4 February 2016, consolidates existing rights from other legislation as well as enshrining new rights for carers and young carers in law. Further regulations and guidance will be drafted to support the implementation of the Act. It is anticipated that the provisions of the Act will commence from April 2018.

Scotland has an estimated 17% of the adult population and 4% of the population of young people providing unpaid care to relatives and friends. The people they care for are in need of help because they are ill, frail, have a disability, mental illness or have a substance misuse. The value of this support to health and social services is extensive. It is widely recognised that carers are now the largest provider of care in the UK. The care they provide saves the Scottish economy an estimated £10.3billion each year. Unfortunately, the benefits of this support can be detrimental to the carers’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

This new legislation will introduce provisions to improve the health and wellbeing of carers.

These include the:

  • identification of carers’ needs for support through adult carer support plans and young carer statements
  • provision of support to carers based on local eligibility criteria
  • enabling of carer involvement in certain services - eg hospital discharge
  • preparation of Local Carer Strategies
  • the preparation of Short Breaks Services Statements
  • establishment of information and advice services for carers

You can find more information in the full detail of the Act.

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 briefing

We are producing regular briefings to keep all stakeholders updated on the work we are doing in Aberdeenshire to prepare for the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016. Stakeholders are people or groups who have an interest in what we do, and who are affected by our decisions or actions.

View the latest briefing - Carers Act briefing issue 2 October 2017 (pdf 118KB). Previous editions are available on request by emailing

Local carer strategy

Work has started to gather the views of carers in the local area via a carer satisfaction survey. The results of the survey will help us develop a local carers strategy for Aberdeenshire. The strategy will detail our plan to support both adult and young carers throughout the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016. 

Your current rights as a carer

If you regularly provide a substantial amount of care for another person, there are specific laws relating to carers giving you certain rights. These include the right to:

You can find out more information about your rights as a carer, before the new act starts, in the following current legislation:

Current young carers rights

The UN Convention on Children’s Rights says all children and young people have the right to:

  • have full account taken of their best interests
  • receive education and development opportunities
  • express their views and have them taken into account
  • have access to leisure, recreation and cultural activities
  • live without discrimination

 All organisations involved with children and young people in Scotland are working towards the same aims – to make sure all Scotland’s children are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected and responsible and included. Young carers have just the same rights as other children and young people.

The law says that local authorities have a duty to assess the needs of young carers to find out if they need any help. The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 says they are entitled to an assessment whether or not the person they look after is being assessed for community care services. Young carers can also get an assessment as “a child in need” under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Social work may also assess the needs of the person being cared for and find them more help if they need it.

If you're a young carer, or know someone who is, you can contact the Aberdeenshire Young Carers Support Service to ask for an assessment.

Help us improve