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.

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.