One year on from the forum's launch in January 2009, Employers for Carers (EfC)'s second Networking Event for members, held 2 February 2010, was addressed by Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister for Disabled People at the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Minister, who has responsibility for carers within DWP, updated members on the Government's progress on implementing the National Carers Strategy launched in June 2008. He also recognised key issues of concern to employers including the need for flexible, available and affordable external care and support services to support employees to remain in, and return to work.
The Minister also welcomed the fact that DWP had recently joined EfC as an employer organisation in order to improve support for carers within its own workforce. Investment in staff and training was very important and it was important not to waste this investment by lack of attention to the needs of carers.
Hosted by EfC Chair Caroline Waters OBE at BT Centre in London, the event was attended by around 50 representatives from a range of private and public sector organisations and combined a lively discussion of topical issues with the Minister with the opportunity for members to network informally.
Employers for Carers now has at least 45 member organisations, representing over half a million employees.