Agenda Item No. 10


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 10th October, 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 an update in respect of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and the approach being taken to implementation.


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 the impact of changes in the policy and legislative framework which underpins the work of Social Services.


  1. The Social Services and Well-being Act came into effect on 6th April 2016. The Committee has requested regular updates on the progress being made in implementing the Act in the Vale of Glamorgan.
  2. This report updates the information considered by the Committee in March 2016, which included:
  • Progress of the four national work groups, established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all-Wales basis.
  • Progress on the amendments to the eligibility/assessment of needs process, to ensure our compliance with the national assessment checklist.
  • An update on the use of the national training materials for the four core modules and the briefings for staff to ensure that they receive an overview of the four key areas of change.
  • An update on our inclusion in the new 'Better Conversations' training course that was piloted by the Social Services Improvement Agency (SSIA) - aimed at equipping officers working at the First Point of Contact. .
  • Confirmation that the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University will deliver training on the implications of the Act, together with an update on corporate Safeguarding for elected Members.
  • An update on the national awareness raising campaign, led by Welsh Government, which started in February 2016.
  • Information about the National Independent Safeguarding Board which will work alongside the regional safeguarding boards (adults and children) to secure improvements in safeguarding policy and practice throughout Wales.
  • An update on the local co-production workshop held in February to explore how best an independent professional advocacy service for adults could be provided.
  • Information about the duty on local authorities and Local Health Boards to carry out a regional population needs assessment by March 2017.
  • An update on resource implications (financial and employment).

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. After the Regional Co-ordinator for work on implementing the Act retired in June 2016, we appointed a new officer to the role on a secondment basis until 31st March, 2017. Sharon Miller joined us on 15th August. Because of her regional role as a change champion, she is familiar with the Act and the various workstreams. The transition has been achieved very successfully.
  2. This region (the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff) has continued to participate in the national work groups established by Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru and the WLGA to share best practice and produce consistent all-Wales material where this is felt to be the right approach. Following on from the initial period of implementation, there are now three work groups: Business Intelligence, New Approaches to Practice and New Models of Service. Their objectives are as follows:
  • Business Intelligence - To influence and support consistency in implementing the new performance measurement framework and the introduction of underpinning systems, including WCCIS and DEWIS.
  • New Approaches to Practice - Supporting development of new approaches to processes and practice in areas such as advocacy, assessment, eligibility, care planning and the information, advice and assistance service.
  • New Models of Service - Developing new approaches in areas such as preventative services, commissioning, social enterprises and responding to population needs assessments.

We will also continue to be involved in the national work groups for Safeguarding and Workforce Planning.

  1. The implementation team and change champions for our region have finalised amendments needed to the eligibility/assessment of needs processes in order to meet the requirements set out in the national checklist issued by Welsh Government. The Swift IT system used by the Vale has been updated so that the information can be recorded electronically and staff were trained accordingly. The revised assessment and care planning tools are now in use by frontline staff. Welsh Government has subsequently asked us for these assessment forms. Officials not only confirmed that they are compliant with the Act but also asked for them to be used as best practice examples on the Care Council for Wales website. The next task for the workstream leads supporting changes in respect of eligibility and assessment of needs will be to ensure that the roll out covers Health (including Mental Health) and specialist assessments.
  2. The tools to support Carers Assessments have been finalised and the new approach is being implemented. The Vale of Glamorgan Council has been positively place in relation to undertaking these assessments in a timely manner and with good feedback about the services offered. We anticipate that the Act will help us to build upon this good track record and move forward with improved services for carers. However, it is important to note that this is another aspect of the Act which is unfunded by Welsh Government to date.
  3. Using the national training materials prepared by the Care Council for Wales, staff have been trained to understand four key areas of change within the Act:
  • Introduction and general functions;
  •  Assessing and meeting needs;
  • Look after and accommodated children; and
  • Safeguarding

The Care Council for Wales has provided, on its website, a training resource for frontline workers on applying the principles set out in the Act ( It includes videos and case studies.

  1. Across the region, up to 6000 staff have been given opportunities to attend or review the sessions using the e-learning package. These sessions have been delivered by external trainers, brought in to work in partnership with the implementation team and our local authority change champions. This programme continues to be rolled out. The Regional workforce group are monitoring delivery of training and extending this offer now to our partners, including health colleagues, corporate services and those organisations from whom we commission services to support citizens. Third sector colleagues continue to receive support regarding implementation of the Act and we plan to hold a further workshop to review progress later this autumn. Further training will be provided specifically in relation to implementation of Adult Protection and Support Order and this starts in September, 2016. There are plans to provide training to social care staff regarding carers assessments. Currently, our Carer Support Officers provide the majority of assessments but we need social workers and social care officers to undertake this work as part of a holistic assessment.
  2. The role of the change champions has been critical in translating the national training programme into the local context. Their role has been widely acknowledged by Welsh Government as being a significant strength in our model of implementation. The priority now is consolidating these changes in practice and turning them into 'business as usual'. With the focus of our work now based increasingly on delivery of well-being outcomes, the way in which we assess needs and commission services must reflect that change. It represents a significant cultural shift for many organisations and so we are continuing the role of change champions, to support staff as they make this transition.
  3. Following on from the regions participation in a successful pilot of the new 'Better Conversation' training provided by Social Services Improvement Agency (SSIA), which received positive comments to its use in practice, a bespoke training programme has been commissioned 'Inspirational Conversations' to enhance conversation, listening, information gathering and recording, and outcome identification skills.
  4. This skilled based outcome conversations training will further equip officers and will strengthen their competence to deliver 'What matters' conversations right from the point of their initial discussions with the people who contact them. This training is tailored to meet the needs of each level of staff from first point of contact through to managers and will commence in the autumn.
  5. Positive progress has been made in developing the local version of the national information portal, Dewis Cymru, now officially launched in the Vale and Cardiff. The new directory of resources will form an integral part of our Information, Advice and Assistance Service which is designed to enable people to get the right help, at the right time, to meet their individual circumstances. The portal already has 1200 entries for this region uploaded to the system. We have continued to support development of the resource by funding a third sector member of staff specifically for this task. Two well-being road shows were held on 20th and 22nd September aimed at third sector organisations, professionals from a wide range of agencies (Health, Police, Fire, Ambulance, local authorities) and elected Members.
  6. The Cardiff and Vale Advocacy Steering Group is working with the Golden Thread Advocacy Project, a three-year national project funded by Welsh Government through the Third Sector Sustainable Social Services Grant programme. It will be helping local authority commissioners to secure the delivery of independent professional advocacy in accordance with the Act. The region is also looking to use the model designed as part of the National Approach to Advocacy for children's services and this Council will lead on the exercise to procure the service from an appropriate provider.
  7. We are currently undertaking a population needs assessment to identify the care and support needs of people in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, as well as understanding how some of the needs could be prevented and what assets we have in our local communities to improve wellbeing. The assessment is a legal requirement under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act and local authorities and the Local Health Board are required to respond and plan based on the findings.
  8. The assessment will include quantitative (numerical) information as well as qualitative information from engagement with local residents and service users. As part of the engagement process we are arranging focus groups/interviews with a number of different population groups. Some of these are being run by existing organisations /groups and others are being commissioned from a market research agency.
  9. We are also running a paper and online survey for residents under the 'branding' of "Let's Talk" to identify care and support needs - the survey can be located at . We will also be circulating a link to a professional and organisational stakeholder survey to enable them to give us their views of population needs from their professional capacity.
  10. The performance management arrangements required by Welsh Government to accommodate the changes introduced by the Act have caused local authorities considerable challenges. The timeframes for reporting have been very short and the technical guidance was released only in August. The first qualitative survey has to be sent out to all children known to Social Services, including every member of their household, and to a random selection of adult service users. There are serious resource implications, in terms of the capacity of officers to undertake this task, additional costs for printing and posting the surveys, following-up responses to the survey if they are not received within the first month, etc. Representations were made to Welsh Government indicating this authority's concerns regarding the quality of data that is likely to emerge, given the short lead-in time and the potential for 'survey fatigue'. This is compounded by Welsh Government requiring that information is sought at the same time from the same cohort of people for three purposes - the qualitative data relating to implementation of the Social Services and Wellbeing Act, the survey for the Population Needs Assessment and the survey relating to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
  11. The new Regional Partnership Board, responsible for leading implementation of Part 9 of the Act, has met. The Regional Implementation Plan is currently being revised to ensure that it reflects the progress made to date and enables officers to prioritise further work. Use made of the Delivering Transformation Grant, designed to support implementation of the Act, has been reported to Welsh Government; officials have commented very favourably on the progress made in this region.
  12. In summary, April 6th was another step (albeit a fundamental one) on the journey towards full implementation of all the changes required by the Act. Good progress has been made in all areas, including the reform of current services, the revision of current policies to ensure that they are compliant with the new statutory framework, and achieving the shifts in organisational culture needed. The decision to focus on business continuity as well as change has been vindicated by our success in minimising the disruption caused to existing service users and carers or those wishing to make referrals.
  13. As we approach a point six months from introduction of the Act, we are beginning to see the impact that it is having in practice and upon our resources. Although we can see clear benefits in changing the ways in which we support citizens, this has been very time-consuming and caused some issues in relation to managing demand. One direct consequence appears to have been an increase in the waiting times for adult services.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Welsh Government recognises that successful delivery of sustainable social services and implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act requires concerted change activity supported by strong collaborative leadership at a regional and local level over the next few years. £3 million has been made available by the Welsh Government from the Sustainable Social Services budget for 2016-17 for this activity. The Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff has been allocated £425,220. The programme is led by the Director of Social Services in the Vale of Glamorgan, which administers the grant. Subject to Welsh Government's budgetary decisions, it is intended that this grant will be moved into the Revenue Support Grant from 2017/18 in recognition of the ongoing change programme required
  2. There are no long-term resource implications as a direct consequence of this report. However, the Act 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 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.
  3. 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. Members will be aware of the severe negative impact upon the Social Services budget that followed introduction of a national maximum charge for non-residential care and support. Some aspects of the legislation may exacerbate the problems. There is a commitment to reviewing the policy but no indication that any major change is likely.
  4. The Charging and Financial Assessment workstream continues to meet in order to establish a new charging policy for the Vale of Glamorgan in response to changes introduced by the Act. Subject to the need for consultation, we plan to introduce the new policy by the end of the calendar year,. Officers remain concerned for the budget position, given the nature of changes to entitlements and constraints placed upon income generation 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. The work outlined in this report addresses the following corporate objectives outlined in the Corporate Plan 2016-2020:

•        Wellbeing Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale

•        Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promote independent living.

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. Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee.

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 4th January 2016: Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

Scrutiny Committee Report 1st February 2016: Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

Scrutiny Committee Report 7th March 2016: 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