Case study: Standard Life.

Not everyone with caring responsibilities would identify themselves as a carer, so Standard Life has focused on publicising the support available to carers as widely as possible. This has been done through their annual report and sustainability report, as well as across internal communications platforms.

This support includes a Carers’ Network, which has been running for over a year with a budget to help support their work as well as an executive level sponsor. The sponsor, the Chief Communications Officer, has seen the impact caring responsibilities have - both in his family and through volunteering. The network delivers training, information and webinars on practical issues and support for carers. There is also an online message board, which is one of the most active message boards in the company. Members help each other with practical advice and guidance, such as how to complete benefit forms. The Carers’ Network connects externally and has held a session with employers in Edinburgh to share best practice. Members have also joined a Cross Parliamentary Group on Carers, attended the Coalition of Carers’ Scotland AGM and have worked with members of Euro-carers looking at sharing best practice.

Additional support provided by the company includes five days paid carers leave, extended periods of unpaid leave, ability to buy and sell holidays, compassionate leave, flexible working, emergency leave or a combination of the above. These are all day-one entitlements at Standard Life. A training scheme for managers to help them specifically support and identify carers is being piloted, and training for all new operational managers includes time spent learning about the carers’ network.

In 2016, a specific Carers Policy was launched to formalise all the available support for carers. This was jointly-created by the people team, the staff association and the Carers’ Network.

Illuminating Ideas

  • Line manager training is being piloted on awareness raising and supporting carers.
  • The Carers’ Network offers online and face-to-face peer support.
  • The Carers’ Network is given a budget to support its activities.
  • Paid leave for carers is offered as a day-one right.

The Judges’ Spotlight

“There is day-one entitlement for carers, highlighting the importance of carers in the organisation. The Carers’ Network has been given a budget and is sponsored by the Chief Communications Officer. The line manager training pilot for carers is getting great feedback.”

‘We have a 24 year old daughter who is severely disabled and needs to be taken to various appointments. Both my wife and I work for Standard Life and we have been allowed the ability to adapt our working patterns between us to ensure someone is always home for our daughter. We don’t know what we would do if provisions had not been put in place for Carers.’

- James