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Agenda Item No. 5

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 5th October, 2015

 

Report of the Director of Social Services

 

Update on 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

  1. The Social Services and Well-being Act comes into force in April 2016. 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 report updates the information considered by the Committee in September 2015, which included:
  • the work of the Care Council for Wales in developing a national learning and development plan to support implementation of the Act and also an Information and Learning Hub (which is a one-stop shop for the wide range of resources being produced as part of this initiative).
  • the successful awareness raising event in partnership with Glamorgan Voluntary Services; and
  • the Social Care and Workforce Development Programme (SCWDP) and arrangements for a regional SCWDP Partnership across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. A draft legislative timetable has been prepared recently. Shown at Appendix 1, it sets out the proposed timescales for laying the remaining regulations and Codes of Practice before the National Assembly, for approval. This information indicates that, despite considerable effort, the Welsh Government cannot be certain of finalising the secondary legislation required before the deadline for implementing the Act.
  2. Now that there is increased clarity regarding the detailed Regulations and Codes of Practice for the different parts of the Act, the Care Council for Wales has been able to award the national contract for developing the tranche 2 training materials, won by the Institute of Public Care (IPC). The four core modules being developed by IPC are:
  • Introduction and General Functions, which will cover information and advice as well as prevention;
  •  Assessing and Meeting the Needs of Individuals;
  • Looked After and Accommodated Children; and
  • Safeguarding.
  1. It is intended that summaries of the main messages from all four modules will be made available for every role within the social care sector, to ensure that the entire workforce has an opportunity to understand how the Act will affect their work. IPC has also been commissioned to deliver 'training the trainer' events. Officers from the Council are seeking to co-ordinate the national training plan for the Act and our regional learning and development programmes within the Vale and Cardiff. A virtual team from both local authorities is working together to ensure that training for the Act is managed efficiently and effectively across the workforce.
  2. The second meeting of the new Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Social Care Workforce Development Partnership was held on 9th September. The Partnership considered the first draft of the Mid-Year Monitoring Report and updated Plan. This will be submitted to Welsh Government on 25th September 2015.
  3. A major source of concern for local authorities and their partners in planning how to implement the Act has been the scale of the change agenda required. The Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS Cymru) has been looking to secure Welsh Government approval for a national programme that focuses upon agreed priority areas. These are:
  • Information, Advice and Assistance(IAA);
  • Supporting the development of an assessment and eligibility toolkit;
  • Planning and promoting preventative services;
  • Workforce;
  • Performance management.
  1. This does not disregard the need for local action that focuses on the many other key areas including safeguarding, looked after and accommodated children, charging, advocacy, social enterprises, and regional partnership planning/working. However, given the very limited timeframe available and the scale of change required, it is essential that we concentrate limited resources and programmes of work at the national and regional levels on those areas which will change most the relationship between individuals and public services and which also represent the greatest risk to effective implementation.
  2. Our Regional Implementation Plan will need to be amended so that it reflects this approach. It must be submitted to Welsh Government by 30th September 2015. In addition to the regional Partnership Board for the Vale and Cardiff operating at a strategic level, the two statutory directors have established a sustainable social services working group which will ensure we make the best use of change resources, prevent duplication and share best practice. Its work will be monitored in the Vale via the corporate arrangements in place for overseeing the social services collaborative programme, part of the Council's Reshaping Services agenda.
  3. Following Ministerial approval, a Code of Practice setting out in more detail the responsibilities of the Director of Social Services will be issued for consultation in October. It is anticipated that there will be a 60-day consultation period. Subject to feedback and any proposed revisions, the final Code of Practice will be placed before the Assembly in February 2016 and come into force from April 2016.
  4. The statutory Code of Practice in relation to measuring social services performance has been issued under section 145 of the Act. Work is ongoing to consider the technical guidance and to assess what needs to be done to ensure that we collect the relevant data from the beginning of the next financial year.
  5. As discussed at the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee in September 2015, an event will be arranged for all elected Members in March 2016 to ensure they have up to date information on the Act and its requirements.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Welsh Government has committed to continue supporting local government and its partners in making the transition to the new arrangements. It has doubled the funding available through the Delivering Transformation grant across Wales 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 process of consolidation, with a view to transferring this sum into the Revenue Support Grant from 2017/18 in recognition of the ongoing programme of change driven by the Act.
  2. From this grant, the Welsh Government has allocated £414,648 to the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff region to continue delivering the transformation/sustainable social services agenda in 2015/16. We have recruited to some additional posts that will help with preparations for the Act and to review and amend current processes, policies and procedures.
  3. There are no long-term 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 and service user entitlements 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 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. It is essential that the Council takes proper account of the budget pressures that will be experienced by the Social Services Directorate from the beginning of the next financial year as a direct consequence of the Act.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. Effective delivery of the new statutory responsibilities is intended to ensure that the Council's assets are managed efficiently and effectively and that best use is made of the resources available for social care services, establishing sustainable models of assistance and support as well as contributing to the most appropriate ways of meeting the needs of vulnerable people.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. 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

  1. These are matters for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health).

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 15th June 2015: Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 8th September 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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