The Scrutiny Committee had requested monthly updates in respect of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 ("the Act") and the approach being taken around implementation.


In summarising some of the latest development, the Director of Social Services explained that the statutory framework now included the Act itself, 23 sets of regulations and 7 codes of practice. He commented that all these, plus 9 technical briefings, represented an intense volume of information that staff would have to get to know. This was a basis for going forward but was a huge volume of detail for people to understand by the April implementation date.


The report further detailed that the lead officers for the Implementation Programme's task and finish groups continued to review the requirements set out in the new Regulations and Codes of Practice, to ensure that they were fully understood and to put in place the necessary actions. Representation on these groups included 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 were the development of the Information, Advice and Assistance Service, the assessment and eligibility process and the new financial assessment and charging requirements.


The Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association had agreed to co-ordinate the work of the six regional implementation collaboratives, funded from the Delivering Transformation Grant. The four national working groups, established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all-Wales basis, had now met. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan region had sent officers to each of these groups so that they could contribute to the development of national toolkits / checklists and, where possible, avoid duplication and develop procedures to meet the local context. Where appropriate any issues not able to be resolved locally were being escalated to the national level.


Consultation on the final Code of Practice, in relation to Part 8 of the Act (the role of Directors of Social Services) closed on 4th December, 2015. ADSS Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association responded to this consultation on behalf of local government. This Code of Practice would be laid before the Assembly in February 2016.


Progress had been made on a series of technical briefings for the Trance 1 Codes of Practice. These were described as "gateway" documents that summarised the key points for each Code:

  • 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.

The national training materials for the four core modules were still being finalised. External trainers, to deliver workforce development on a prioritised basis in February and March, had been assigned through the national call off arrangements. A training plan was being developed to include the period prior to implementation and the months after. Additional resources were also available to help deliver awareness training to Elected Members and to provide support for the new Regional Partnership Board which would be established under Part 9 of the Act. The Minister had 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 implementation of the Act. A copy of the letter was appended to the report.


In terms of financial support, the report outlined that Welsh Government had 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 would be available in 2016/17.


The Chairman queried the amount of time remaining in order to roll out the associated training programme and in response to this, Members were advised that the service would have to prioritise staff training according to need and that not all staff would be fully trained by the implementation date. The Chairman also asked for a date to be agreed for the briefing of councillors on the Act. The Director agreed to find a suitable date and promulgate it after consultation with Cabinet Members


In referring to the introduction of a new provision of up to six weeks free reablement services to enable a person to maintain or regain their ability to live independently, the Committee was advised that the eligibility for this may not only include those individuals being discharged from hospital and may relate to all individuals receiving care.


In considering the report, the Committee




(1)                T H A T the contents of the report be noted.


(2)                T H A T the Committee continue to receive regular updates about implementation of the Act.


(3)                T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet in order to provide an update around the approach being taken to implement the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.


Reason for recommendations


(1-3)                To ensure that Elected Members are kept informed about fundamental changes to the policy and legislative framework which underpins the work of Social Services."


Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 4th January, 2016