Triangle reflects on attending the Scotland that cares – Scottish Parliamentary Reception event – 7th March 2023

I’m Jim Borland, the Implementation Lead for Triangle in Scotland and it was my privilege to attend the recent Scottish Parliamentary Reception event hosted by Oxfam, promoting a new campaign ‘A Scotland that cares’.

The campaign is focused on why making a commitment to valuing and investing in care within the National Performance Framework is so vital to drive progress towards a Scotland that cares. The campaign has been launched to coincide with the first review of the National Outcomes framework in five years. It sets out the argument that to build a fairer and more resilient country, the Scottish government must set a National Outcome for Scotland to fully value and invest in all forms of care and all those who provide it. Too many carers face deep personal and financial costs, including poverty. With the cost-of-living crisis deepening pressures on those who rely on or provide care are increasing. Only once this standard exists, can we then all work together to create positive change for society.

A New National Outcome on Care

The campaign has created a blueprint for a new National Outcome on Care, but it requires public support and the political will to change the current situation and work towards improving the situation for those who experience and provide care across Scotland.

The event was organised by Oxfam Scotland and sponsored by Karen Adam, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast. There were approximately 60 attendees’ from interested agencies, including staff from some of the 55 organisations that currently support the campaign. These included Carers Scotland, Carers Trust, One Parent Families Scotland and Scottish Care, as well as a variety of MSPs from constituencies across Scotland. I am proud to say that Triangle is also one of the supporting organisations.

Support the campaign

Jamie Livingston, the head of Oxfam Scotland opened the event describing his lived experience of caring for his sister who died after battling cancer.  He highlighted the practical issues facing those requiring care and those providing it, but also the issues for the carers once their caring role ends. He talked about his sister’s determination to be active in improving the situation.  Highlighting her efforts of contacting, all the political leaders in Scotland to raise awareness of the lack of support for all those needing and providing care. He has taken his sisters positive action through to this campaign. Whilst many current Scottish political parties already support future change, there is an opportunity for everyone, especially those who experience care and those who provide it to add their voice to the call by taking action via the campaign website:

Karen Adam MSP, then highlighted her own lived experience of being a carer, outlining the need for financial support and appropriate resources being made available to help individuals being cared for or fulfilling the very difficult carer’s role itself. She highlighted the need for the carers voice to be heard, valued and rewarded for the work that they do.

Jamie Livingston provided background information on the campaign, which started in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, it was clear those being cared for, and their carers were excluded from many aspects of the pandemic recovery plans. This was highlighted by the fact care and carers are invisible in all 11 Scottish National Performance framework outcome indicators.  

Together with several partner agencies, the drive to change started with the intention to ensure a permanence to investment in the caring role.  Together with the development and publication of policy via a new National Outcome on Care. Working in conjunction with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) the partnership developed a blueprint for a new National Outcome. It is hoped to be the basis for potential care indicators specifically linked to carers and the caring role in Scotland. Jamie also highlighted the upcoming consultation phase of the Scottish Government’s review of National Standards and urged individuals and organisations alike to be involved in this consultation and support change to the National Outcomes.

Seven new national indicators have been identified to measure progress:

  • The quality of life of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • The quality of care for all;
  • The financial wellbeing of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • The voice and influence of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • Access to education and training;
  • The adequacy of funding for care;
  • The job quality of social care and childcare workers

Oxfam Scotland: “We want Scotland to fully value and invest in those experiencing care and all those providing it because… Scotland’s one million unpaid carers are the bedrock of health and social care, without whom the care system would collapse. Despite saving Scotland £10.9 billion each year, too often they experience poverty, loss of employment and ill health simply because they care. This must change!”

Satwat Rahman, CEO of One Parent Families Scotland, outlined the importance of this work, and why her organisation has been involved since its inception. Introducing four panel speakers, all with similar negative lived experience of the current support available. These experiences included:

  • The view that the carers’ role is predominately valued and seen as a priority only by family members, peers and caring services. General opinion was that there was little, or no value put on this role by external services, including education, employment, and financial services.
  • There was an expectation from external agencies that carers should ‘know what to do’, without any support.
  • Very limited support available for young carers, especially in the areas of education and finance – thus the carer’s own life and dreams have to be put on hold and suffer whilst they fulfil their caring role.
  • An overly complicated benefits system, which was off-putting to a lot of carers.
  • A lack of resources for those requiring care, or respite for the carers themselves. Demonstrating the need for infrastructure improvements in care provision as one size doesn’t fit all.

Consequently, the need for recognition around the importance of the carers role was emphasised.  Increased and appropriate funding for carers and carers services is needed, to assist carers to provide support and ensure the person requiring care is treated appropriately and with dignity.

Karen Hedge, deputy CEO of Scottish Care concluded the presentations highlighting the view that carers were seen as ‘Cinderella’ within Social Care services, and much more is required to support these individuals. She further emphasised the need for proper policy and legislation which in turn would require achievements to be measured to ensure compliance. Only then would Scotland be able to demonstrate we are a nation that cares.

I found all the personal stories and experiences very moving, particularly from the four panel members sharing their ‘lived’ experience.

As an organisation, Triangle is not directly involved in supporting individuals. We develop Outcomes Star’s for organisations who provide support to individuals in a wide range of social provision settings, including carers. The Carers Star was developed in partnership with the Social Enterprise in East Lothian (SEEL), The Carers Trust and funding from the Scottish Government. It provides a robust framework to assist practitioners work together with carers to help optimise the quality of their lives and assist them in their caring role.

We often discuss the importance of enabling and empowering people by being person-centred and strengths-based and this Star will assist in identifying a carers strengths and challenges to identify support needs to improve the carers situation. However, as highlighted by most of the speakers, the current apathy towards the carer’s role and lack of resources and finance available to support this role directly impacts what is achievable by a person or supporting organisation.

The culture around current care services in Scotland requires change if Scotland is to demonstrate that it values and invests in all individuals experiencing or providing care.

The event gave me plenty to think about and I am personally committed along with my colleagues within Triangle to support this campaign and I would urge anyone reading this post to add their voice to the campaign.

Support the campaign

Please visit the campaign website: and sign up to the campaign to create change for this vital cohort of our society. Everyone will need to be cared for at some point in their life: as a child, in later life, or due to additional support needs. If you receive care or are a carer yourself, please let our political leaders know why valuing and investing in care matters to you.

Further information

If you would like further information about the Carers Star, please email us at

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CAMHS National Summit 2022: The power of listening

Headshot image of Karen Bodger

Karen Bodger, our new Implementation Lead for the North West region, reflects on the presentations at the CAMHS 2022 National Summit: Transforming Mental Health Services for Adults and children and shares some of the speakers’ insights.

Speakers noted the UK is in the grip of a mental health crisis, with children and young people suffering in particular. Referrals to NHS Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have increased by 180% during the last five years, creating significant pressure on services and raising the threshold for support and treatment. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) model is routinely used to tot up all the trauma children have experienced, creating feelings of bleakness for support workers. Still, the CAMHS summit were determined we have hope and talked a lot about harnessing the power of listening to help support.

Speakers acknowledged it’s grim out there for young people who are suffering. As Dr Harriet Stewart said, “young people’s mental health was worsening at an alarming rate before the pandemic. In the aftermath of Covid, children present at CAMHS with more complex needs. Staff are exhausted, burnt out, and leaving the service”. When Dr Stewart said, quite bluntly, “if we don’t get it right, we’ll ruin their lives, their opportunities,” it was hard not to feel like we are, as a society, failing our young people. But as she said, “we need to think we can do this.”

I also heard from young people like Katie Hickson, who spoke up about her experiences. She is a young woman who gets involved in conversations with the government and campaigns, making me feel hugely hopeful. Katie so eloquently reminded us, “young people already have a voice; they don’t need to be given it. It’s the job of the professionals, the service providers, and parents to listen to their voice and provide opportunities for them to be heard”.  

I also loved hearing Max Davie (who very impressively managed to squeeze in a reference to CBeebies’ Octonauts while debunking some of the myths around early help) talk about listening to the difficulties young people were experiencing as we’ve become a bit fixated on labels, but Max demonstrated the importance of listening first and diagnosing later.

Nicola Harvey, the author of Mindful Little Yogis, shows us how active listening can help young people feel psychologically safe and that without providing that psychological safety, we can’t expect young people to grow up resilient. Reiterating without listening first, we can’t expect better outcomes.

There was a lot of agreement around the need to fund early support hubs, that young people can access without needing a referral.

How can the Outcomes Star help your service?

The Outcomes Stars are listening and conversational tools helping services transform lives. They are keywork tools and measurement tools.  If your organisation provides early intervention mental health support for young people, My Mind Star has seven key outcome areas designed to open up conversations between support workers and the young person about their life. My Mind Star doesn’t assess how severe a mental ‘problem’ is. It explores where the young person is now and where they would like to get to in the future. It is a holistic co-production tool involving listening and discussing a young person’s life, situation, priorities, hopes and aspirations. Together the worker and young person co-create goals and action plans. Using the scales to measure the distance a young person travels through the journey of change over a period of time. Star data also helps managers assess workers caseloads to help reduce burnout. Star data also provides service improvement insight to analyse if the support provided is working, individual progression data and aggregated service level data to report impact to funders.

What I personally like about the Outcomes Star approach is that it starts with listening and, when used well, puts young people at the centre of their journey. Rather than defining a young person by statistics, by how many ACEs they’ve experienced, or whether they are ‘unwell enough to warrant service or support, the Outcomes Star is a collaborative tool that supports and measures change. 

Learn more about My Mind Star

CPD Session: The Outcomes Star™ and the Care Act 2014

In this session, Implementation Lead Rox Faulks will discuss how the Outcomes Stars supports alignment with the requirements of the Care Act 2014 concerning Well-being assessment and outcomes planning. This briefing will help you decide if the session will be of value to you.

Licensed Trainer CPD Session Tuesday 12th October 2021. 2 pm – 3 pm GMT

Briefing: The Outcomes Star™ and the Care Act 2014 with Outcomes Star Implementation Lead Rox Faulks

To sign up for this session, Register here

Does the Care Act 2014 apply to you?

The Care Act 2014 (the Act) is UK Legislation; however, due to Social Care being a devolved matter in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Act generally* only applies in England. With this in mind: If your Outcomes Star Licensed Trainer role does not relate to service provision or commissioning within England, then this session will not be directly relevant to you.


What is the Care Act 2014?

The Act came into effect in April 2015, supported by the Care and Support (Assessment) Regulations 2014. It is primarily for adults in need of care and support and their adult carers.**


The Care Act 2014 created a primary statutory responsibility on Local Authorities to promote individual Well-being and put people at the centre of their care and support. The Act defines well-being under nine areas and sets out 10 Wellbeing Eligibility Outcomes against which the Local Authority must assess need and apply the National Eligibility Criteria. It is to this core element of the Act that this CPD session relates.  The Act’s scope also includes Safeguarding Adults arrangements, the provision of Information and Advice to citizens, Commissioning for sustainability and diversity of the Care & Support market and integrative partnership working.


Is this session relevant to me and those I train?

This session will be of relevance to you if you or your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners that are

  • Connected to the Local Authority arrangements for the assessment of care and support needs of Adults or Carers (in England) against the Wellbeing Outcomes and the Eligibility Criteria of the Act
  • Or connected to the review of those care and support needs
  • Or expected to report on your provision’s impact outcomes directly correlating to the Wellbeing Outcomes and the Eligibility Criteria of the Act. More broadly, this session may be of value to you if you or your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners are.
  • Working with people who may have care and support needs that require assessment by the Local Authority under the Care Act 2014.
    • For example, you/your Licensed Star Practitioners support service users (adults or carers) within your services who you sometimes help to access an assessment of needs, intending to get more help and support in place for them. Perhaps by making a referral to the Local Authority or being present at assessments of need or reviews.


How will this session be of value to me?

This session will allow you to build confidence, ideas and understanding about

  • how the Outcomes Stars reflect the principles and values of the Care Act
  • how Outcomes Star outcome areas can map to the Wellbeing Outcomes and Eligibility Criteria of the Act
  • how your use of the Outcomes Star can integrate with your Care Act assessment and review processes
  • how your use of the Outcomes Star enables your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners to be objective advocates when referring for or supporting within, assessment of needs under the Care Act 2014. As with all our Licensed Trainer CPD sessions
  • you will have an opportunity to connect with others who have a shared interest in this topic area
  • the session will fuel ongoing conversation between us about how we can support you in this topic area moving forwards through information, resources and networking.

Ready to sign up for this session?

Register here


Links to more information:

SCIE have recently updated their information and resources on the Act at Watch their short introduction video here:

The Local Government Association website has a wealth of articles and resources at, including a guidance document precisely for Providers, which you can view here Guidance_on_the_impact_of_the_Care_Act.pdf (

*You can find out more about the UK Territorial extent and application at Care Act 2014 – Explanatory Notes (

** “The Care Act is mainly for adults in need of care and support, and their adult carers. There are some provisions for the transition of children in need of care and support, parent carers of children in need of care and support, and young carers. However, the main provisions for these groups (before transition) are in the Children and Families Act 2014.”

How Carers First use the Carers Star in their work

Logo for Carers First - the words Carers First in purple on a white background
We recently caught up with Ferne Haxby – one of our Outcomes Star licensed trainers – and learned how the staff at Carers First use the Carers Star in their work.

I’ve been the Learning & Development Adviser for Carers First since 2016. My role includes ensuring the organisation is compliant by providing statutory training – GDPR and Safeguarding.  As well as championing compliance for Carers Frist, I author courses in a range of subjects that enhance the roles of the staff, source external learning providers, and arrange bespoke workplace training.

The Carers First staff team is committed to using the Outcomes Stars as part of their work; we have a large contingency who use the Carers Star.

The Carers Star is designed for use with a wide range of carers – anyone providing unpaid care for a relative or other person. It can be used by the carer whether they live with the person they care for or not. It’s primarily designed for adult carers but can be used with young carers.

The Carers Star is fundamental to the assessment of carers and allows Carers First’s staff to develop other supporting skills such as motivational interviewing, negotiating and communication as part of their roles. Using this, we can work with carers, supporting and empowering them, making their lives as best as they can be.

I am fully committed to using the Outcomes Star and after initial training it is good to see the number of staff grow in their use of it.  Refresher and reflective training is my favourite, as I facilitate sessions whereby staff are sharing experiences, knowledge and best practice together.  Each time, there is something new to learn and share between staff and this allows us to use the Star to the optimum advantage to help our carers in their journeys as carers.

What is so good is that the Star is a life tool and even though there comes a time when carers are not carers anymore, some keep on our books and check in every now and then and are still using the action plans and development tools as they live their lives. 


The adult care sector is extremely broad, but most services in this sector focus on helping people achieve the outcomes that matter in their lives. Explore the Stars available for the Adult Care sector.

Full materials are available for organisations with a Star Licence and training for all managers and workers using the Star.

Triangle have also developed a guide for using the Carers Star and other Stars in the context of the Care Act 2014.

Going back to my roots: Presenting the Carers Star to the Carers Awareness Day in Hong Kong

Stock photograph of a street in Hong Kong at night
Star co-creator Joy MacKeith reflects on how the Carers Star is taking her back to where she started life in Hong Kong

It is always exciting to have the opportunity to speak at an event about the Outcomes Star, but my presentation on the Carers Star to the Carers Awareness Day in Hong Kong this Friday is particularly meaningful to me.

I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was seven. My parents had travelled there from England just six months earlier so my father could take up a management post at the Nethersole Hospital on Hong Kong Island. He had been inspired by his aunt who had worked as a teacher in Shanghai and then Hong Kong from the 1930s to the early 1960s.  What a delight (just) over fifty years later to be able to share a tool I co-created with a Hong Kong audience of professionals, policy-makers and carers themselves.

Photograph of Joy MacKeith as a child with a group of people
Joy MacKeith, aged 6, with nurses from the Nethersole Hospital where her father worked

The annual event aims to promote the awareness of carers and their needs among the social service sector and policy makers. It is organised by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service (BOKSS) a not-for-profit which provides a wide range of services across Hong Kong including children, youth and family services, services for older people and mental health services.

BOKSS have established a CARE College which provides training to carers, professionals and related agencies and raises awareness of the needs of carers. When they came across the Carers Star they recognised that the collaborative approach to assessment and action planning that is at the heart of the tool fitted perfectly with their holistic and participative approach. 

Image of the Carers Star in chinese
The Carers Star in Chinese

The Carers Star was developed by Triangle with the Carers Trust and Social Enterprise of East Lothian in Scotland. It covers seven key areas in which carers often need support including their own health, adapting to the caring role and making time for themselves. It is already widely used in the UK (including by The Carers Trust and Barnardos) and Australia (including by Australian National Carer Gateway and Uniting Care West), with over 30,000 readings on the Star Online. 

My presentation will introduce the Carers Star and outline its dual purpose as a key-work tool to support a structured and empowering conversation with a support worker, and an outcomes measurement tool providing valuable information about how things are changing for carers whilst they receive support. Sadly for me the event is completely online but on the positive side that will mean that I can be joined by colleagues Angela Kallabis and Laura Baker for the Q+A session. 

Percentage of service users moving forward in the seven Carers Star outcome areas

It is a long time since I lived in Hong Kong, but it is where life started for me and I still have vivid memories of my time there. I never could have dreamt that I tool I co-created would reach out so far into the world and pull me back, half a century later, to my roots. I will follow the journey of the Carers Star in Hong Kong with great interest and hope that it is as helpful there as it has been in the UK and Australia.



The Carers Star was recently translated into Chinese in collaboration with Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service (BOKSS). For more information on the Stars and how to use them internationally or in translation take a look at our International section or contact Triangle for more information.

New Star resource for Young Carers – flashcards for the Carers Star

Sara Burns is one of the founding directors of Triangle and leads on the development of new Outcomes Stars. Here she explains why these new flashcards were needed and how they can help

So far, I have always managed to be in the room when we start developing a new Star. There is something of the texture, feel or nuance of a client group and sector that is communicated by more than words. One day I may have to do that on a screen. While I assume that I’ll find a way, I’d still rather not. I vividly remember standing in workshops many years ago when developing the Carers Star. We collaborated with the Carers Trust and they involved their members – mostly small, local services supporting those caring for a family member or friend. Many in the room were themselves carers or had been in the past, and it was invaluable to hear, imbibe and understand their experience. Although we always carry out a thorough literature review, much of what shapes the Stars, and makes them speak to people, is that deep, ‘bottom up’ listening to workers, service users and others.

People asked for resources tailored to young carers

Ideally, each version of the Star serves a broad sector and range of people or needs and that was our aim with the Carer’s Star. Nevertheless, most people accessing services are older adults, caring for elderly relatives, and the Star is what fits best for them. However, since we published the Carers Star, there have been requests from workers who support young carers for tools tailored to them. In this instance, young carers referring to children and young people caring for a relative at home. This came to a head when I was in Australia in early 2020. I was attending an event for the Australian government Carers Gateway roll-out the Carers Star to all services across Australia. Many services in the sector support young carers too and we agreed to develop flashcards to make the Carers Star friendlier and speak more directly to these service users as well.

Young carers can be both mature and vulnerable

Estimates of the number of young carers in the UK range from 230,000 – 700,000. Those accessing services are a fraction of the total: most are not recognised as needing support and don’t come forward due to stigma, not knowing help is out there or afraid of shaming or being taken away from their family. They are interesting and often impressive. The added responsibility can make young carers mature beyond their years and many express pride at being able to help their family members. Yet as a group they are more vulnerable than others, struggling with education, financially poor and more likely to have health difficulties. Research indicates that they worry a lot – about the health or behaviour of the person they care for, their own well-being, who will do the caring in the future, or about being late and unable to meet the demands of education. They can be isolated, with little in common with their peers.

We created flashcards with words and images relevant for young carers

Flashcards offer an accessible, visual extra resource and are already available for many versions of the Star. To develop flashcards for young carers, we carried out interviews and asked workers to consult with the young carers they supported. We also did a literature review to understand more about the specific needs and priorities for young carers. We produced draft flashcards and asked for collaboration to try these out with young people and gather feedback.

We published the new flashcards for young carers in March 2021, with areas of the Carers Star specifically focused on the aspect most relevant to young people. ‘Work and volunteering’ on the Star is represented by school and education in the flashcards. ‘Finances’ is renamed to ‘money’ and highlights worry about family finances rather than budgeting or banks. ‘Time to yourself’ features football and other leisure activities more relevant to children and young people.

We made changes to the Journey of Change underpinning the Star. Some young carers were alarmed by wording which implied that they needed to be independent of support by the top of the scales and indeed this is not appropriate for children and young people, so we removed it. They also found the end point of ‘as good as it can be’ rather depressing, so that was also changed in the flashcards to ‘things are okay’. The start part point of ‘cause for concern’ also triggered anxiety, so we shortened it to a more neutral ‘concerns’. There were other changes too, but this gives a flavour.

The final version of the flashcards for young carers tested well and can be used flexibly by workers to initiate and support a conversation about the seven Carers Star areas that is much more appropriate for children and young people. For consistency, we have also produced flashcards for the Carers Star for the core audience of adult carers. Both sets of flashcards can be downloaded by clients from their Star Online portal.


The Carers Star is an Outcomes Star for use with people caring for others, it is designed to help organisations and the carers that they support.  It is one of four main Stars which can be used across the adult care sector, other Stars include the Independent Living Star, Life Star or the Older Person’s Star. Organisations that work with young carers may find that My Star or other Stars designed for the family and children sector may be more suitable for working with young people, children and carers under 18. For more information on the flashcards or the Carers Star and Stars for the adult care sector, please contact us.

A real difference: How the Star is helping the Carers Trust prove its impact

In the increasingly competitive world of carer services, commissioners want robust outcomes data. For the Carers Trust, measuring outcomes has become crucial in its mission to improve support for unpaid carers – and the Carers Star is helping provide the evidence it needs.

Since the Care Act of 2014, local authority commissioners have had to assess carers and provide support where needed. This has given rise to bigger, multiple contracts for services helping carers – and a corresponding demand from commissioners for good outcomes measurement.Carers Star case study

 “The landscape now is that you need to demonstrate the difference that you’re making – it’s more and more competitive,” says Dr Richard McManus, insight and intelligence manager at the Carers Trust. “There’s a big difference in the way services are commissioned and ultimately how they’re delivered.”

The Carers Trust has a large network of partners, all operating in slightly different ways, so collecting and analysing robust outcomes data across the network is crucial. “The Carers Star is widely used throughout the network,” says Richard. “It’s a really useful tool, based on lots of research, evidence and testing, as well as engagement with the carers themselves.”

With nearly a third of the Carers Trust’s network partners now using the Star, Richard McManus is able to see the individual impact of particular services, but also to gather data on the collective impact across the network. It’s proving invaluable in securing bigger contracts, which the Trust bids for jointly with one or more network partners.

“Having the Carers Star is a really good way of demonstrating that we understand the needs of carers,” says Richard. “More generic charities might have less robust reporting and measurement in place. But with the Star we can show we have specialist knowledge and real expertise – and also for particular groups, like young carers, carers for people with dementia, or carers who also work.”

The Carers Trust is seeing benefits right across the network. “The network partners that use the Star really value it,” says Richard McManus. “It helps them with improving their services and transforming the way they deliver those services, based on real evidence and feedback from carers.”

“And of course, because of its robust design and methodology, it’s highly appealing to commissioners.”

For more detail about how the Star works both as a measuring tool and for carers themselves, have a look at the case study. Related blog: we also published a related blog; Carers Star makes collaboration count.


The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Carers Star makes collaboration count

How do you get someone whose life is centred on another person to look after themselves? For more than 50 carer organisations, the answer is with the help of the Carers Star.

Published in 2014, the year of the Care Act, the Carers Star filled an immediate need for services and commissioners alike – to measure the impact of “care for the carers”. But the Star isn’t just about good outcomes data. Even more crucial is its ability to engage struggling carers in the first place. And the key to the Star’s success here is collaboration.

 “Carers don’t want someone to come in and take over,” says Victoria Mellor, lead care advisor on the CarerLinks project for Crossroads Together. “There’s nothing worse than an assessment where someone’s in front of you scribbling away and you don’t know what’s being written. It can make you feel a bit paranoid – how is someone going to use that information?”

Example image showing the cover of the Carers Star User Guide and a open spread with the detailed scales for one area

By contrast, she says, the Carers Star is a tool that both worker and carer can see. Its visual form – the star shape – makes it instantly clear what is working and not working in each of seven areas of a carer’s life. Worker and carer fill it in together, in any order, led by the carer’s immediate concerns.

“Carers usually have something they want to focus on straightaway,” says Victoria. “With the Star you can look at that first, so the carer gets their priorities straight in their head. Then you work with them and map things out together – this is going to be your job, and these things are going to be mine. It really empowers the carer.”

How you fill in the Star is equally flexible. Crossroads Together use it for assessment at the first home meeting, but sometimes carers are in crisis or just not ready and it doesn’t feel appropriate to complete the Star. “Then I just use it as a guide and a prompt to bring things back if the conversation goes off at a tangent, and I fill it in when I’m back in the office,” says Victoria.

“Later on, when things are brighter for them, we use it reflect on what’s changed. They like to look back at the journey – they ask ‘what did I say the first time? I’m in a different place now’”. That’s really helpful. One of our main aims is to empower them to take responsibility for what they need and how they can achieve it.”

At the original Carer Star training, some Crossroads Together workers worried that carers wouldn’t like the Star. “But carers do want to engage,” says Victoria. “There’s no typical carer – they definitely keep you on your toes. But that’s the great thing about the Star – you’re able to use it in different ways with different people. It’s very adaptable.”

Stephen Taylor, service delivery manager at Carers Leeds, agrees. “There are lots of different ways to get the carer to engage with it. Carers like the visual stuff, they like the scaling, and they like to see change. The Star is about their journey – it helps carers to stay focused on the bigger picture, not just a bad week they’re having.”

Traditional assessments, he says, tend to focus on what is wrong. “The Star is much more collaborative. Because it’s strengths-based, people are really engaging in their own care plan. Through good conversations, they’re coming up with their own ideas about what works with them. The collaborative approach is a very powerful thing.”

And the collaboration isn’t just between worker and carer. Both Crossroads Together and Carers Leeds have found that the Star can help with spreading good ideas and ways of working across their organisations.

“If an adviser has a really successful Star, we use it as an example in a team meeting,” says Victoria. “It helps show what’s working, say in Liverpool, that we might want to duplicate in Shropshire.”

“There’s real potential to share good practice when you see the variations,” says Stephen. “When I look at the data, I try and look across the individual teams and how they’re doing in particular Star areas. For example, are our mental health specialists doing better on the “How you feel” scale for carers? It’s about asking good questions – what are you doing well?”

“I think the Star’s great – I like the questions it raises.”

Using the Carers Star

  • The Star works well for carers with complex or ongoing needs
  • It’s typically used over three to six months
  • Each scale is underpinned by a five-stage Journey of Change – cause for concern, getting help, making changes, finding what works, as good as it can be
  • It’s also possible to use the Carers Star on the phone – Triangle can advise on good practice
  • For young carers, consider My Star instead of the Carers Star.

The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. Triangle is exhibiting at the Carers Trust Network Partner conference from 11th to 12th March. If you are attending and would like to meet the team, or want more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Behind the scenes with Housing and Care 21

On 15th and 16th March, Triangle spent some time filming in Oldham, UK, at an extra care housing scheme run by Housing and Care 21.    Over the two days, we learnt a lot from residents Dougie, Margaret and Dorothy, and Jodie (Court Manager) and Laura (Support Services Manager), about how the Independent Living Star is used in practice.

We’ll be sharing some videos very soon but in the meantime, here are some behind the scenes photos of our two days together.