The need for an inspection of Social Care Support Services for Carers of Older People in Northern Ireland was identified during the consultation on the former Social Services Inspectorate's inspection programme for 2002-2005. The inspection continued into 2006. The reports arising from the inspection identify many areas of good practice and good quality work undertaken by highly motivated staff. The reports have sought to identify both what is working well and where improvements are still needed. The reports, with their recommendations to Boards and Trusts and their partner Agencies, together with the draft standards and other initiatives from DHSSPS, provide a clear and coherent framework for the future provision of robust, high quality support for carers. Support for carers is a central policy objective for the Department. The final Standards for Adult Social Care Support Services for Carers were issued in July 2008 and will complement other published standards with regard to practice and social care service provision. The standards will be of use to Commissioners and Providers of social care support services for carers; social care workers; regulatory and training providers and most importantly to carers and their representative groups to inform them of what they can and should reasonably expect from social care support services and from the organisations and practitioners commissioning and providing them.