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Agenda Item No 13

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 13th March, 2017


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. 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 October 2016, which included:
  • Progress against each of the regional workstreams.
  • Exception reporting regarding issues and challenges that had arisen due to implementation of the Act.
  • An update on the role and experience of the 'change champions'.
  • An overview of the training that had been delivered to staff.
  • The progress in relation to the DEWIS Information Portal.
  • Performance management arrangements.
  • Plans for completing the Population Needs Assessment.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. We have continued to engage in the national workstreams managed by the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru, to share best practice and produce consistent all-Wales material where this is felt to be the right approach. These are:

- New Models of Service - to assist regional partnerships in their continued development of new models of service, including integration of delivered and commissioned services through pooled budgets.

- New Approaches to Practice - supporting the development of new approaches to processes and practice in areas such as advocacy, assessment, eligibility, care planning and the information, advice and assistance service.

- Business Intelligence - to influence and support national consistency in the implementation of the national performance measurement framework and the introduction of underpinning systems WCCIS and DEWIS.

  1. On a local basis, we have continued to focus over the past six months to ensuring that the Act becomes 'business as usual', consolidating and embedding changes in policy and practice. Consequently, some elements of the work programmes have either ceased as changes are signed off or they now meet less frequently. This is reflected across other regions.
  2. The implementation team, with support from the change champions for our region, has continued to deliver against the Regional Implementation Plan. Progress is monitored on a monthly basis through the Regional Steering Group. At the mid-year Delivering Transformation Grant (DTG) accountability meeting with Welsh Government officials, the Vale and Cardiff region was complimented on its progress and it was noted that we are substantially compliant with many requirements of the new statutory framework.
  3. New assessment and care management tools have been developed and implemented, with revised guidance for staff involved in providing services to children, adults and carers. The region received recognition from Welsh Government regarding the standard of the assessment forms for adult services, which will be used as a blueprint for other local authorities to consider.
  4. In relation to Eligibility and Assessment, we have been working now on specialist areas. A form is being tested for use across the community health teams. Assessment tools are currently being developed for occupational therapy, reablement services and mental health services for working age adults to put in place a form which is Act compliant.
  5.  All current service users have been reviewed to ensure that they remain eligible for care and support services under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act.
  6. DEWIS Cymru has been implemented, although we are experiencing some issues regarding capacity for keeping the content current. This has been identified as a priority area for the future work programme.
  7. The Welsh Community Care Information System (WCCIS) is being rolled out across Wales. It is proving to be a challenging process because of scale and complexity. Two local authorities have already implemented and two health boards are due to go live shortly, following some initial issues regarding information governance. This region remains committed to implementing the system, although our two partner organisations have yet to enter into a contractual agreement with the supplier. The Vale of Glamorgan Council will be implementing WCCIS in November 2017. This will provide the basis for much higher levels of integrated service delivery and information sharing across health and social care.
  8. The National Approach to Statutory Advocacy for Children and Young People is being introduced across Wales, with an agreement that commissioning will be undertaken regionally. We anticipate having a regional contract in place by June 2017.
  9. Independent Professional Advocacy for Adults is being developed in this area through the Golden Thread Advocacy Programme, funded by Welsh Government. A workshop has been held with current advocacy providers in the Vale of Glamorgan to advise them about the requirements under the Act. We intend to consult on a service specification during March with a wide range of providers and other stakeholders, to inform a tender process for new advocacy provision later in the year.
  10. Local care and support plans for looked after and accommodated children have been developed that contain information about how the child's wellbeing and developmental needs will be met. The care and support plan incorporates a range of plans formerly required.
  11. The workstream on Planning and Promoting Preventative Services has struggled to make progress in the absence of the Population Needs Assessment. Initial work mapped the preventative services that existed across the region but focusing only on Social Services. When the Group met to make use of this document, members found it difficult to navigate because the varying strands had different governance structures and funding mechanisms. It was also complicated by an attempt to do this on a regional footprint and it has been decided that each local authority area will require a different approach, one that is more responsive to broader well-being functions. However, work on promoting more preventative services has continued through use of the Intermediate Care Fund and through the Poverty Alignment Group in the Vale of Glamorgan. The plan for 2017/18 is to focus on preventative services from a corporate perspective and to align with the work being done under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
  12. The Population Needs Assessment has been completed and an Annual Plan for the Regional Partnership Board is being developed for presentation to the Council before the end of the financial year. The outcomes of the Population Needs Assessment will assist us in developing the preventative services strategy and making better use of co-production opportunities.
  13. Quantitative performance measures are regarded nationally as being within a 'baseline and bench marking year', with data being submitted to Welsh Government to support this approach. Arrangements to collect and return the data on statutory performance measures have been developed. We have spent considerable time trying to understand the requirements and mapping the new measures against the data currently held within our systems, identifying the gaps and seeking solutions to enable more useful and consistent data reporting from 1st April, 2017. We have undertaken surveys that will enable us to report on the new qualitative measures, with questionnaires being sent to all children (aged 7+ and parents) and a sample of adults and carers who have a care and support plan and are receiving services from the local authority. We are in the process of analysing the returns.
  14. Under Part 9 of the Act, the region must jointly commission care home placements from April 2018. To plan for this major step, a Joint Commissioning Board has been operational for six months. In addition to supporting the design of pooled budgets and joint commissioning of care home placements as mandated by the Act, other priority areas for this approach are being identified for further consideration. Rachel Jones, the regional Assistant Director for Integration, is leading on this piece of work and there are a number of workshops scheduled for March.
  15. A Charging Policy has been developed and it is being submitted to Cabinet for consideration in March, for implementation from April if approved.
  16. The Act makes various forms of Citizen Engagement a high priority. Although our current citizens' panel arrangements are satisfactory, we recognise the need for being innovative in developing practice so that we engage meaningfully with all citizens, not just service users and carers. A pilot has just started with the New Horizons Day Service, to examine potential approaches. We have decided to use the 'Expert by Experience' model and an organisation that previously supported the national Citizen's Panel is engaged in the pilot.
  17. The work programme for next financial year is nearing completion. However, there are ongoing discussions about how the funding will be deployed, given that the regional grant from Welsh Government is now part of the local authority settlement. The priorities being considered are to:
  • retain capacity and leadership;
  • continue to deliver an effective regional plan;
  • support the ongoing implementation and review of processes and practice;
  • provide consistency in the performance management framework;
  • develop new models of service for preventative services, commissioning and social enterprises;
  • provide information to support professionals/practitioners with local implementation of the Act by way of new procedures;
  • introduce the national approach to advocacy services for children - to ensure a regional contract is in place for June 2017;
  • develop professional, independent advocacy for adults - to jointly commission a service;
  • ensure effective arrangements are in place for citizen engagement;
  • ensure capacity to support the implementation of joint commissioning and pooled budgets; and
  • continue to support ongoing development of the regional Adults and Children's Safeguarding Boards.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. 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 some 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. It is essential that the Council continues to take account of the budget pressures that will be experienced by the Social Services Directorate as a direct consequence of the Act.
  2. In previous years, Welsh Government has paid to this Council the grant for managing implementation of the Social Services and Well-being Act on behalf of the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan region. This was in the form of the Delivering transformation Grant, and amounted to £425,000. However, from next financial year (2017-18), Welsh Government will allocate the money to each local authority via the settlement. The Vale of Glamorgan will receive about £106,000. There are ongoing conversations with Cardiff Council about how far it is possible for the funding to be managed on a regional basis by a host local authority.

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

Scrutiny Committee Report 10th October 2016: Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

Contact Officer

Suzanne Clifton, Interim Head of Service

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services