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Agenda Item No. 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health):  21st May 2015

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Scrutiny Committee with a monthly update in respect of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and the approach being taken to implementation.

Recommendations

That Scrutiny Committee:

 

1.         Notes the report.

2.         Continues to receive regular updates about implementing the Act.

3.         Refers this report to Cabinet for information.

Reason for the Recommendations

1. 2. & 3.  To ensure that elected Members are kept informed about fundamental

                 changes in the policy and legislative framework which underpins the work of

                 Social Services.

Background

2.         The Social Services and Well-being Act comes into force in April 2016 and the Committee has requested regular updates on the progress being made in readiness for implementing the requirements of the Act in the Vale of Glamorgan.  This second report updates the information considered by the Committee in April 2015.

3.         The first tranche of regulations and guidance on parts 2, 3, 4, 7 and 11 of the Act were issued by Welsh Government in November 2014.  Members received and noted the Director of Social Services' response to this consultation at their meeting on the 13th April 2015.  Mark Drakeford, the Minister for Health and Social Services, provided a statement to Assembly Members on 27th February about the emerging themes from the first tranche of regulations, the related codes of practice and statutory guidance to be made under the Act.  More than 300 substantive written responses from a wide range of individuals, representative groups, Local Government and professional organisations were received in response to the consultation.  The Minister said that the overall response to the consultation was positive: respondents were supportive of the principles and detail.  

4.         Work was ongoing to analyse the responses in detail but a number of common themes had emerged:

·         The need for a comprehensive approach to learning and development to ensure staff across the sector and partners have the knowledge and skills to deliver the new requirements and organisations are supported to make the necessary cultural changes;

·         The need for a considered approach to transition to the new system;

·         The need to raise awareness among the public about the changes that will be introduced;

·         The need to ensure all delivery partners are fully engaged in considering the way resources are targeted on implementation;

·         The need to embed collaboration, not only in delivery through partnership arrangements such as local authorities and health boards, but also in policy delivery through different parts of the Act;

·         The need to continue to work together to embed new practice and arrangements beyond April 2016, including co-developing guidance around good practice.

5.         There are concurrent pieces of work underway covering workforce readiness, awareness-raising among the wider population, and key regional implementation activity.  The Care Council for Wales, as the lead body for workforce development, will lead on the development and implementation of a national learning and development strategy.  The strategy is critical to implementation of the Act and will need sustained, deliberate and high-profile leadership, which can reach out across a wide range of organisations and partners beyond the boundaries of the traditional social care sector.  It will include a training deployment plan and a one-stop-shop information hub, playing a key supporting role for the sector in ensuring its own readiness for the changes the Act and its regulations will bring into force.  It will be supported by £1m in 2015-16 from the social care workforce development programme.  A further £7.1m from the programme, together with the local authority match funding already in place (making a total of some £11m) will support the development and implementation of cross-sector regional training plans, which will align with both the national strategy and regional implementation plans.

6.         Regional partners were required to prepare a self-assessment of readiness to implement the Act.  The two Local Authorities, the Cardiff and Vale Health Board, Cardiff Third Sector Council and the Vale Council for Voluntary Services took part in the self-assessment, which was submitted to Welsh Government on 30th January.  This was also considered by Members at their meeting on 13th April.

Update on preparations to ensure readiness to implement the Act

7.         To support Local Authorities prepare for implementing the requirements of the Act, Welsh Government made available the Delivering Transformation Grant in 2014/15, which totalled £1.5 million across Wales.  The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff were allocated £194,910 and this grant was managed by the Vale of Glamorgan Council on behalf of the partner organisations with the Director of Social Services in the Vale of Glamorgan acting as the Regional Lead Director.  The Quarter 4/end of year report which sets out what has been achieved using the Delivering Transformation Grant 2014/15 is set out in Appendix 1.

8.         To reinforce collaboration between local government and the NHS, the terms of the 2014/15 grant included the requirement to develop regional governance arrangements which reflect the national steering and engagement structure, with a Partnership Forum and Leadership Group.  Locally, this has been established through the Integrated Health and Social Care Governance Board and a Strategic Leadership Group.  The terms of reference of the Board were reviewed on 14th April 2015.  Appendix 2 contains the revised Terms of Reference.  

9.         These matters may need to be reviewed again in response to Welsh Government Guidance in respect of Part 9 of the Act, which deals with co-operation and partnership.  Draft guidance is likely to be available for formal consultation in May when the second tranche of regulations and guidance in relation to parts 5, 6 and 9 of the Act, will be issued, with a view to being laid before the National Assembly late in 2015.  The second tranche will seek to create a system which secures outcomes for looked after and accommodated children; drives regional collaboration; puts in place a system of charging, financial assessment and paying for care; supports the making of representations and provision of advocacy and addresses the issues raised by provider failure.

10.      One of the other key deliverables of the grant was the development of a comprehensive regional implementation plan by the end of the financial year.  Appendix 3 contains the approved plan which was submitted to Welsh Government by 31st March 2015.

Funding for 2015/16

11.      The Welsh Government will continue to support local government and its partners in making the transition to the new arrangements.  It has doubled the funding available through the Delivering Transformation grant to £3m in 2015/16.  Subject to budgetary decisions, a further £3m in grant funding will be made available in 2016-17 to support the embedding process, with a view to transferring this sum into the Revenue Support Grant from 2017-18 in recognition of the ongoing change which the Act is driving. 

12.      From this grant, the Welsh Government has allocated £414,648 to the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff region to continue the delivering transformation/sustainable social services agenda in 2015/16.  Appendix 4 sets out a programme for delivery which will ensure the necessary resources are in place.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      There are no resource implications as a direct consequence of this report.  However, the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 sets a whole range of new challenges which will have to be met at a time of severe financial restraints for local government and social services.  It has been made clear that there will be no additional resources from the Welsh Government for this purpose, apart from the limited transitional/transformational funding.  Local authorities should remain very cautious about whether there will be sufficient resources available to meet increased commitments and expectations in the face of growing demand for services.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      "Sustainable Social Services for Wales – A Framework for Action" recognises the diversity of Wales, including its status as a bilingual nation.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Social services meets the following corporate objectives:

·         "To make the Vale a safe, healthy and enjoyable place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full"; and

·         "To manage the Council's workforce, money and assets efficiently and effectively in order to maximise its ability to achieve it service aims."

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      These are matters for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.      There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward. 

Background Papers

Scrutiny Committee Report: 7th November, 2013: Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill

Scrutiny Committee Report 14th January, 2014: Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action

Scrutiny Committee Report 13th April 2015: Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

Contact Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services

 

 

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