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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 30th November, 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:
  • A draft legislative timetable setting out the proposed timescales for laying the remaining regulations and Codes of Practice before the National Assembly, for approval.
  • An update on the workforce development proposals being managed through the Care Council for Wales.
  • The Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Social Care Workforce Development Partnership Mid-Year Monitoring Report and updated Plan, submitted to Welsh Government on 25th September 2015.
  • An update on the statutory Code of Practice in relation to measuring social services performance.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Using a more user-friendly format, we have updated the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Implementation Plan, attached at Appendix 1. It was submitted to Welsh Government on 16th October 2015, as required. The plan reflects the nine work streams being delivered through the Implementation Programme and it includes a risk assessment. The governance structure for this programme is appended to the plan. We have established regional task and finish groups for each work stream, led by Heads of Service and Directors from both local authorities, with the remit to develop local action plans.
  2. Officers have received a demonstration of a new national directory of services, Dewis Cymru, which has been developed by the Social Services Improvement Agency and piloted in North Wales. It provides a national solution for supporting some of the requirements in the Information, Advice and Assistance Services part of the Act. Dewis can be accessed via this link www.Dewis.Wales.
  3. Content on the site is organised under a range of themes, which were developed in consultation with citizens. These are:
  • Being well
  • Being at home
  • Being social
  • Being safe
  • Managing your money
  • Children and families.
  1. Workforce development continues to be a high priority and additional resources are being prepared to assist staff in their preparation for implementing the Act. The Care Council (in conjunction with the All Academy Wales, Learning Pool and Skills for Justice) has developed an interactive e-learning module, based on the Information and Awareness pack. This is designed to give users a clear and simple overview of the Act. The module can be viewed via the link below

http://www.ccwales.org.uk/learning-resources/

  1. A guide to resources that support the promotion and development of social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led and third sector organisations is also available.

http://www.ccwales.org.uk/social-enterprises-co-operatives-and-third-sector/  

  1. Another link on the Communication Hub sets out the updated versions of the Regulations and Codes of Practice pages.

http://www.ccwales.org.uk/regulations-and-codes/

  1. Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services issued a detailed Written Statement on 3rd November providing an update on legislative, national and regional implementation of the Act.

http://gov.wales/about/cabinet/cabinetstatements/2015/sswellbeingactupdate/?lang=en

  1. The revised tranche 2 regulations and final codes of practice for parts 2 (General Functions), 3 (Assessing the Needs of Individuals), 4 (Meeting Needs), 5 (Charging and Financial Assessment), 6 (Looked After and Accommodated Children), 10 (Complaints, Representations and Advocacy) and 11 (Miscellaneous and General) of the Act, have now been laid before the Assembly for scrutiny. The Minister will also publish statutory guidance on parts 7 (Safeguarding) and 9 (Co-operation and Partnership) later this month. These, together with the code of practice in relation to measuring social services performance (laid before the Assembly in June and subsequently issued on 5 October) will substantially complete the legislative framework under the Act and provide much of the detail required for implementation. The final code of practice, in relation to part 8 of the Act (the role of Directors of Social Services) is currently out to consultation - closing on 4 December - and will be laid before the Assembly in February 2016.
  2. The Minister acknowledges that implementation will not be achieved through the making of legislation alone and that Welsh Government is relying on a range of key partners to provide the national and regional leadership required to deliver the Act on the ground. Working with these partners - the Welsh Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, the Welsh NHS Confederation and the Care Council for Wales - a collaborative statement has been prepared. It sets out the main activities each partner will take forward over the coming months in taking forward the national implementation programme.
  3. The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association have agreed to coordinate the work of the six regional implementation collaboratives Three of the four national work groups established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all Wales basis have met. Cardiff and the Vale region has appointed officers to each of these groups so that we can contribute to the development of national toolkits and, where possible, avoid duplication.
  4. There is growing concern about urgent progress needed in making available as soon as possible a set of detailed technical briefings from Welsh Government summarising the duties placed upon local authorities and their statutory partners by the Act. Two major information events for stakeholders are being held this month, one in North and one in South Wales. We are looking especially for urgent development of the national assessment and eligibility toolkit but it is proving difficult to get consensus.
  5. One of the key tasks now is to communicate to the general public the changes the Act will make. To this end, a Welsh Government-led national awareness raising campaign will commence in January 2016, preceded by an easily accessible summary publication developed for a wide range of audiences. Our Regional Lead Officer has attended the Act Implementation Communications Steering Group. This group is focusing on ensuring that a consistent message on the main implications of the new Act is delivered to citizens across Wales.

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 required 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 short-term posts that will help us prepare for the Act and review 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 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.
  4. On 11th November, the Minister issued a Written Statement - Further Update on Reform of the Arrangements for Paying for Social Care and Support. He regrets that continued uncertainty about relevant UK reforms means that he is still not in a position to make informed decisions about the position in Wales. However, Welsh Government will move ahead with implementing an updated financial assessment and charging framework under Act. The regulations and code of practice relating to Parts 4 and 5 of the Act to introduce the updated framework were laid before the National Assembly on 3rd November.
  5. The key elements of the framework include:
  • one set of financial assessment and charging arrangements for non-residential and residential care and support rather than one for each at present;
  • maintaining the present weekly maximum charge and "buffer" for non-residential care and support, as well as the current capital limit used to determine who pays the full cost of their residential care themselves;
  • maintaining the current individuals, and forms of care and support, for which a charge cannot be made and introducing a new provision of up to six weeks free reablement to enable a person to maintain or regain their ability to live independently so as to promote the prevention ethos of the Act;
  • introducing more transparency by extending the requirement for all those who receive a charge to receive a statement detailing this and its calculation;
  • introducing a consistent, universal review process to enable a person to query charges made and correct errors;
  • maintaining deferred payments in residential care to enable those whose property may need to be sold to pay for this to delay its sale until a time more appropriate for them; and by introducing the ability of a local authority to charge a low set rate of interest on the amount deferred. This will help make such arrangements cost neutral to authorities; and,
  • allowing authorities to recover charges and to create a charge over land where a debt occurs.
  1. Members will be aware of the severe negative impact upon the Social Services budget that has followed introduction of a national maximum charge for non-residential care and support and we must anticipate that this will continue to be the case.

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 5th October 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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