Agenda Item No. 8
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 2nd November, 2015
Report of the Director of Social Services
Update on Implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
Purpose of the Report
- 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.
That Scrutiny Committee:
- Notes the report.
- Continues to receive regular updates about implementing the Act.
- Refers this report to Cabinet for information.
Reason 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.
- 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. This report updates the information considered by the Committee in September 2015, which included:
- A draft legislative timetable 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, submitted to Welsh Government on 25th September 2015.
An update on the statutory Code of Practice in relation to measuring social services performance.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The updated Regional Implementation Plan, attached at Appendix 1 has been developed in a more user friendly format. It was submitted to Welsh Government on 16th October 2015, as required. The plan reflects the nine work streams being delivered through the Implementation Programme and includes a risk assessment of the tasks required to implement the Act. The governance structure for this programme is appended to the Regional Implementation Plan. We have established regional task and finish groups for each work stream and assigned lead co-ordinating officers, with the remit to develop local action plans for implementation.
- Three of the four national work groups established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all Wales basis have met. Cardiff and the Vale region appointed officers to each of these groups so that we contribute to the development of national toolkits and, where possible, avoid duplication.
- Officers have recently received a demonstration of a 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 the requirements of the Information, Advice and Assistance Services part of the Act. Dewis can be accessed via this link www.Dewis.Wales.
- Content on the site is organised under a range of themes, which were developed in consultation with citizens. These are:
- Being well
- Being at home
- Being social
- Being safe
- Managing your money
- Children and families.
- Our Regional Lead Officer for Sustainable Social Services attended the Welsh Government Act Implementation Communications Steering Group in October. This Group is focusing on the national awareness campaign which will start in early 2016 in order to ensure that a consistent key message on the implications of the new Act is delivered to citizens across Wales.
- Following Ministerial approval, a Code of Practice setting out in more detail the responsibilities of the Director of Social Services will be issued for consultation in October. It is anticipated that there will be a 60-day consultation period. Subject to feedback and any proposed revisions, the final Code of Practice will be placed before the Assembly in February 2016 and come into force from April 2016.
- Workforce development continues to be a high priority and additional resources are being prepared to assist staff in their preparation for implementing the Act. The Care Council (in conjunction with the All Academy Wales, Learning Pool and Skills for Justice) has developed an interactive e-learning module, based on the Information and Awareness pack. This is designed to give users a clear and simple overview of the Act. The module can be viewed . the link below
- A guide to resources that support the promotion and development of social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led and third sector organisations is also available.
- A link on the Communication Hub sets out the updated versions of the Regulations and Codes of Practice pages.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 from the beginning of the next financial year as a direct consequence of the Act.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- 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)
- There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- "Sustainable Social Services for Wales - A Framework for Action" recognises the diversity of Wales, including its status as a bilingual nation.
- 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
- These are matters for Executive decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health).
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
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services
Corporate Management Team
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services