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Ecorys cost benefit analysis shows value of supporting young carers

Two economic studies by Ecorys have demonstrated the benefits of supporting young carers.
 
A study into Sheffield Young Carers demonstrated the positive impact of their support to young carers in one year equated to between £1.42 and £1.90. This means that, for every £1 invested into the service, £1.42-£1.90 of economic benefit is estimated to be generated. Another study for Surrey Young Carers estimated the benefits of their support, over the course of one year, to be around £3 for every £1 spent on the service. Please note that the two services differ in scope and scale, and the two studies were based on different methodologies, which means that the relative return on investment (ROI) values should not be compared, and do not indicate the relative effectiveness of the support.
 
Support to over 2,000 young carers in Surrey generated an estimated £2.7 million of economic benefit, by avoiding ‘carer breakdown’ (carers becoming unable to support the person being cared for) and a proportion of carers becoming a ‘Child in Need’ (requiring local authority intervention below the level of child protection).
 
Sheffield Young Carers generated £350,000 of benefit over a cohort of 128 young carers, based on outcomes recorded in case notes. These provided evidence that the project had a positive impact on young carers’ mental health (including in some cases reducing thoughts about attempting suicide or self-harm), relationships with family and friends, and attendance, behaviour and progress at school, college or work. Consultations with ex-service users provided further evidence of positive outcomes, and that they have the potential to be sustained. Evidence suggested that Sheffield Young Carers was the primary driver of change in many cases.
 
Ecorys studies add to the emerging evidence base on the positive economic impact of supporting young carers, and that investing in cost-effective services has the potential to lead to improved outcomes for young carers and their families. This, in turn, can benefit the public finances (as outcomes improve and families require less support from more acute services) and wider society. There is a strong argument in favour of investing in young carers services, if cost-effectiveness of such services can be demonstrated robustly.
 
These projects were presented to stakeholders from NHS England and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) recently, and add to Ecorys’ strong track record in economic evaluation (see an example here) and research into support for young carers (see an example here). This analysis could equally be replicated or extended in other local authority areas or nationally to demonstrate the benefits of support to groups in need, including young carers or adult carers.
 
For further information on Sheffield Young Carers please visit: www.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk
For further information on Surrey Young Carers please visit: www.surrey-youngcarers.org.uk
 
To request a copy of the reports or for further information please contact James Whitley, Senior Research Manager