The finalists for the annual Best Practice Awards have been announced today by work-life balance charity Working Families 
Forward Carers has been named as a finalist in the Best Innovation category of the Working Families Best Practice Awards. Employers of all sizes from different sectors compete annually to reach the shortlist for the unique business awards for flexible, agile organisations.
Now in their twelfth year, the Working Families Best Practice Awards  showcase and celebrate employers who are offering flexibility for all their people and going above and beyond in their support for parents and carers.
Forward Carers has been shortlisted for the Best Innovation category because of the development of the UK’s first 3-in-1 Carers Card. The Carer Friendly Card helps Forward Carers staff, and anyone in a caring role, to overcome three of the greatest challenges they face; lack of understanding about Carers; the financial impact of their caring role; and the real fear of who can support their loved one should they be unexpectantly become unavailable. The Card addresses all three of these challenges, it acts as Carer identity verification, provides access to shopping discounts and includes the carer’s emergency contact details to offer the carer and cared for peace of mind.
Forward Carers is on a mission to create Carer Friendly Communities which is reflected in the organisation’s workplace policies and services available to staff members. The Carers Card plays a key role in creating Carer Friendly Communities, including in the workplace. One in seven employees combine paid work with unpaid caring; the photo ID card can help a working carer spark a conversation with their employer around their caring role. Juggling work and unpaid care can be a significant issue for carers, leading to many having to stop working altogether which is detrimental to both the employee and employer.
Forward Carers is encouraging workplaces to be carer friendly but also the whole community too so that carers feel supported before and after their working day. The Carers Card aims to make life easier and ‘friendlier’ for carers outside of work so that day-to-day interactions such as visiting an inclusive supermarket, shop or café is less stressful and more affordable. Improving support in the community has a knock-on effect in making people feel better at work too.
Chantell Marler is the project manager of the Carer Friendly Communities scheme for Forward Carers and has been involved with the development of the Carer Card since its conception in 2019. Chantell said,
“The new card comes with a QR code, which can be scanned to provide proof that the card holder is a registered and verified Carer and will also contain additional information about the Carer Friendly Communities scheme. Businesses who are not part of the scheme already, can scan the card and will be able to sign up there and then to offer discounts to carers.
The card is the UK’s first electronic Carers photo identity card accessible on smartphones, the digital version of the card is £10 less than the physical plastic card so it’s affordable to Carers and reduces our impact on the environment.”
Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families and Chair of the judging panel , said:
“Huge congratulations to our finalists Forward Carers. Making it through to this stage in such a competitive year demonstrates they are leaders in creating supportive, flexible working cultures. Forward Carers’ outstanding entry in the Best Innovation award caught the attention of the judging panel and stood out amongst a record number of entries.”
“This last year has been exceptionally challenging for everyone, and particularly for many working parents who’ve had to find ways to balance work with caring for children. We know that where employers have adopted flexible working practices, that balancing act has been made far less stressful for individuals, and allowed employees to be as productive as possible in their role.
“As we move out of the pandemic into the ‘new normal’, we are determined to use what we’ve learned to benefit more of the UK’s 13 million working parents. This list of outstanding organisations is leading the way in showing that flexible, family friendly working policies aren’t just the right thing to do: they make great business sense. When employees have more control over their time, we see improved engagement and retention, as well as better organisational performance.”
The full finalists for the 9 categories:
Best COVID-19 Response
North East London NHS Foundation Trust
QBE European Operations
University of Strathclyde
Best for Mothers
Best for Fathers
Best for Carers & Eldercare – sponsored by Crown Prosecution Service
Anglo American Services (UK) Ltd
West Midlands Police
Best Family Network
Nationwide Building Society
Best for Mental Health & Wellbeing – sponsored by Hill Dickinson LLP
Mills & Reeve LLP
Nationwide Building Society
Best Innovation – sponsored by Adactus Ltd
Mills & Reeve LLP
Best for Flexible Working – sponsored by Find Your Flex Group
Hill Dickinson LLP
Together Housing Group
Best Small Employer – sponsored by ILF Scotland
Keep Britain Tidy
The winners of each category will be announced on 27 May, 2021.
 For more information contact
Working Families press office by email firstname.lastname@example.org
 About Working Families
Working Families is the UK’s work-life balance charity. We help working parents and carers—and their employers—find a better balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace.
We provide free legal advice to parents and carers on their rights at work. We give employers the tools they need to support their employees while creating a flexible, high-performing workforce. And we advocate on behalf of the UK’s 13 million working parents, influencing policy through campaigns informed by ground-breaking research.
 The Working Families Best Practice Awards 2021
The winners of the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards will be announced on 27 May 2021.
 Judging Panel. The final winners of each Award category are judged by an expert panel. The judging process for the Awards is anonymous – none of the judges knows the identity of the companies which they are judging.