THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 30TH NOVEMBER, 2015
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 2ND NOVEMBER, 2015
"557 UPDATE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELL-BEING (WALES) ACT 2014 (DSS) -
The Director of Social Services provided his latest monthly update report in relation to the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being Act.
The Act would come into force in April 2016 and this report updated the information considered by the Committee in September 2015, which included the following:
- A draft legislative time table 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 which was submitted to Welsh Government on 25th September, 2015.
- An update on the statutory Code of Practice in relation to measuring Social Services performance.
The Director advised that the updated Regional Implementation Plan, attached at Appendix 1 had been submitted to Welsh Government on 16th October, 2015. Welsh Government had agreed the plan and were happy with the progress outlined within it.
The Plan reflected the nine work streams being delivered through the implementation programme and included a risk assessment of the tasks required to implement the Act. The governance structure for this programme was appended to the Regional Implementation Plan (shown on page 28 of the appendix). For each work stream a regional Task and Finish Group had been established for which lead co-ordinating officers had been assigned.
The report highlighted that three of the four national work groups established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all Wales basis had met. Cardiff and the Vale regions had appointed officers to each of these groups so that the service could contribute to the development of national toolkits and, where possible, avoid duplication.
Officers had been recently received a demonstration of a new national directory of services, called Dewis Cyrmu which had been developed by the Social Service Improvement Agency and had been piloted in North Wales. This provided a national solution for supporting the requirements of the Information, Advice and Assistance Services part of the Act.
Content on the site was organised under a range of themes, which were developed in consultation with citizens. These being:
- being well
- being at home
- being social
- being safe
- managing your money
- children and families.
The Director described how very detailed codes of practice regarding technical parts of the Act were now coming through and that staff were beginning to better understand the Act's implications. He stated that he was still somewhat anxious in respect of the timescales and cited the example around I.T. systems. It was a huge undertaking to implement major changes in only a few months.
The Regional Lead Officer for Sustainable Social Services had attended the Welsh Government Act Implementation Communications Steering Group in October. This Group was focused on a national awareness campaign which would start in early 2016 in order to ensure that a consistent key message on the implications of the new Act was delivered to citizens across Wales.
A Code of Practice setting out in more detail the responsibilities of the Director of Social Services would be issued for consultation in October and it was anticipated that there would be a 60 day consultation period. Subject to any feedback and any proposed revisions, the final Code of Practice would be placed before the Assembly in February 2016 and would come into force in April 2016.
The report outlined how workforce development continued to be a high priority and that additional resources would be prepared to assist staff in their preparation for implementing the Act. The Care Council had developed an interactive e-learning module, which was based on the Information and Awareness pack. This was designed to give users a clear and simple overview of the Act. Furthermore, a guide to resources that supported the promotion and development of social enterprises, co-operatives, user led and third sector organisations was also available.
In querying the service's readiness for the Act, the Director of Social Services commented that, if the national infrastructure needed to support implementation had been in place 12 months ago, he would be reasonably confident. He stated that he was anxious as the service was still waiting for Welsh Government to secure Assembly approval for some of the main Codes of Practice and Guidelines from the Act. A key aspect for the service was to provide reassurance to care practitioners around their ability to meet expectations following the Act. He went on to state that the service would implement as much of the Act as possible but new services would not happen overnight.
With regard to the possible phasing in of parts of the Act over time, the Director advised Members that from April 2016 the new Act would replace the old legislation. This would mean that there was a legal requirement to provide services in the way outlined within the new Act, although he still hoped that Welsh Government would make some public statements about the fact that implementation would be a long process.
Finally, the Director stated that, in his opinion, the Vale of Glamorgan Council was better placed than most other Authorities in Wales, building on considerable strengths.
(1) T H A T the contents of the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the Scrutiny Committee continue to receive regular updates about implementation of the Act.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information.
Reason for recommendations
(1-3) To ensure that Elected Members are kept informed about fundamental changes in the policy and legislative framework which underpins the work of Social Services."
Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 2nd November, 2015