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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) : 4th January 2016

 

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.

Reasons 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.
  2. This report updates the information considered by the Committee in November 2015, which included:
  • The updated Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Implementation Plan, submitted to Welsh Government on 16th October and reflecting the nine work streams being delivered through the Implementation Programme.
  • The governance structure for this programme including the regional task and finish groups for each work stream, led by Heads of Service and Directors from both local authorities and with a remit to develop local action plans. There is an overarching regional implementation group and the Director of Social Services in the Vale continues to be the regional lead.
  • Information on the 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.
  • An update on the workforce development proposals being managed through the Care Council for Wales, including the link to a clear and simple overview of the Act. The module can be viewed via the link http://www.ccwales.org.uk/learning-resources/.
  • A guide to resources that support the promotion and development of social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led and third sector organisations is also available at http://www.ccwales.org.uk/social-enterprises-co-operatives-and-third-sector/.
  • An update on the tranche 2 regulations and codes of practice and the link on the Communication Hub which sets out the updated versions of the Regulations and Codes of Practice pages http://www.ccwales.org.uk/regulations-and-codes/.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The lead officers for the Implementation Programme's task and finish groups continue to review the requirements set out in the new regulations and codes of practice, to ensure they are fully understood and to put in place the necessary actions. Representation on these groups includes officers from both local authorities, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Third Sector. The areas currently regarded as providing the greatest challenge are the development of the Information, Advice and Assistance Service, the assessment and eligibility process and the new financial assessment and charging requirements.
  2. The Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association have agreed to coordinate the work of the six regional implementation collaboratives, funded from the Delivering Transformation grant. The four national work groups, established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all-Wales basis, have now met. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan region have sent officers to each of these groups so that we can contribute to the development of national toolkits/checklists and, where possible, avoid duplication and develop procedures/processes to meet the local context. Where appropriate any issues not able to be resolved locally are being escalated to the national level.
  3. Consultation on the final code of practice, in relation to part 8 of the Act (the role of Directors of Social Services) closed on the 4 December. ADSS Cymru and the WLGA responded to this consultation on behalf of local government. This code of practice will be laid before the Assembly in February 2016.
  4. Progress has been made on a series of technical briefings for the tranche 1 codes of practice. These are described as "gateway" documents that summarise the key points for each code. Access to the briefings is again via the Care Council's Communications Hub.
  • Technical Briefing: Measuring social services performance
  • Technical Briefing: Part 2 - Information, Advice and Assistance
  • Technical Briefing: Part 2 - Population Assessment and Prevention
  • Technical Briefing: Part 2 - Social Enterprises
  • Technical Briefing: Part 2 - Well-being and overarching duties
  • Technical Briefing: Part 3 - Assessing needs
  • Technical Briefing: Part 4 - Care Plans
  • Technical Briefing; Part 4 - Direct Payments
  • Technical Briefing: Part 4 - Eligibility
  • Technical Briefing: Providing care and support to those in the secure estate.
  1. The national awareness raising campaign, led by Welsh Government, will start in January 2016 and the Council's Communications team will be assisting with rolling out key messages.
  2. The national training materials for the four core modules are still being finalised. External trainers, to deliver workforce development on a prioritised basis in February and March, have been assigned through the national call off arrangements. A training plan is being developed to include the period prior to implementation and the months after. Additional resources are also available to help deliver awareness training to elected Members and to provide support for the new Regional Partnership Board which will be established under Part 9 of the Act. The Minister has written to health board chairs and chief executives; Cabinet Members for Social Services; Directors of Social Services and Regional Chairs to emphasise the importance of workforce development in the lead up to the Act implementation date. A copy of the letter is appended to this report.
  3. Four Welsh voluntary organisations have received funding to enable them to develop learning materials to support implementation. Age Cymru, Tros Gynnal Plant, Disability Wales and Hafal were each awarded the funding through the second round of the Co-production Grant Fund, created by the Care Council to draw upon the expertise of other organisations in developing resources for the Act. All learning materials developed by these organisations will be available by the end of March. Some of the third sector bodies will develop their materials themselves; others will take a partnership approach with various other organisations contributing to the final output. For example, Age Cymru will take the lead in a collaboration with Swansea University and Disability Wales to create materials which focus on advocacy support and services for those acting as advocates in the wider workforce.

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 as a direct consequence of the Act from the beginning of the next financial year.
  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, introducing 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. There is a commitment to review the policy but no indication that any major change is likely.

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 30th November 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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