Agenda Item No 9
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 1st February, 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
- 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 January 2016, which included:
- Information on the Implementation Programme's task and finish groups as they review the requirements set out in the new regulations and codes of practice, to ensure they are fully understood and to put in place the necessary actions.
- Progress of the four national work groups, established to share best practice and produce consistent material on an all-Wales basis.
- Consultation on the final code of practice, in relation to part 8 of the Act on the role of Directors of Social Services) and the joint ADSS Cymru/WLGA response on behalf of local government. This code of practice will be laid before the Assembly in February 2016.
- Information on the series of technical briefings for the tranche 1 codes of practice. These were described as "gateway" documents that summarise the key points for each code. Access to the briefings is again via the Care Council's Communications Hub.
- An update on the national awareness raising campaign, led by Welsh Government, which will start in February 2016. The Council's Communications team will be assisting in dissemination of the key messages.
- Progress update on the workforce development materials being developed by the Care Council for Wales.
- Information on the four Welsh voluntary organisations who have received funding to enable them to develop learning materials to support implementation.
- Set up as part of the regional Implementation Programme led by the Director of Social Services for the Vale of Glamorgan, the nine Task and Finish Groups continue to meet. These groups comprise: Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA); Planning and Promoting Preventative Services; Eligibility and Assessment of Need; Safeguarding (Adults and Children); Looked After and Accommodated Children; Advocacy; Performance Management; Workforce Development; Cooperation and Partnership.
- Many other areas will need concerted efforts to ensure compliance with new legislative framework which comprises the Act itself, 23 sets of regulations and 7 codes of practice. However, it has been necessary to prioritise some of the most important changes. Those currently regarded as providing the greatest challenge are the development of the Information, Advice and Assistance Service, the assessment and eligibility process and the new financial assessment and charging requirements.
- Lead officers for the groups continue to review the requirements set out in the new Regulations and Codes of Practice, to ensure that these are fully understood and to put in place the actions needed for implementation. Representation on these groups included officers from each Local Authority, the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Third Sector. Progress had been made on a series of technical briefings for the Tranche 1 Codes of Practice. These are described as "gateway" documents that summarise 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.
Relevant Issues and Options
- Good progress is being made in setting up the Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) Service, especially in the area of adult services where we are able to build upon the positive work undertaken in integrating social care and NHS staff and processes alongside Contact One Vale. Resources have been identified to secure for local use a customised version of the national information portal, Dewis Cymru, for Cardiff and the Vale. Dewis can be found by following this link www.Dewis.Wales.
- Our region has been selected by the Social Services Improvement Agency (SSIA) to pilot a new training course aimed at officers working at the First Point of Contact so that they fully understand the changes introduced by the Act. This will include focusing on the 'what matters' question in initial discussions with the people who contact them. This 'Better Conversation' session will take place in January with evaluation taking place in February before the training is rolled out to other regions.
- The four all-Wales work streams continue to meet. This region has sent officers to each of these groups so that we can contribute to developing national toolkits/checklists and, where possible, avoid duplication and ensure that procedures/processes fit with the local context. The national checklist for Common Recording Requirements for Assessments has been completed. It will be available for staff on the Getting in on the Act Hub.
- The national training materials for the four core modules have been finalised and officers have been working with the external trainers, to ensure that these materials are responsive to our needs. A training plan setting out workforce requirements has been approved by the Regional Implementation Steering Group.
- The Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University is to provide support for the new Regional Partnership Board which will be established in accordance with statutory guidance under Part 9 of the Act. Local authorities and Local Health Boards are required to establish a Board to manage and develop services to secure strategic planning and partnership working between local authorities and Local Health Boards and to ensure effective services, care and support are in place to best meet the needs of their respective population. In its meeting on 4th February, the Integrated Health and Social Care Governance Board will consider a report, setting out how it will need to be reconstituted so that it complies with the Co-operation and Partnership requirements.
- The Institute has been appointed also to deliver training on the implications of the Act for elected Members. Provisional dates for the training events in March 2016 have been agreed.
- In January, the WLGA produced an e- Bulletin for Social Services. This is attached as Appendix A. Parts 3 and 4 give an update on the Act. Part 12 contains a link to the 'What matters to you - matters to us' animated video, which outlines the changes being introduced with the new Act in a user-friendly format. This Council made an important contribution to developing the material.
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 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 are helping us prepare for the Act and to 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 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 as a direct consequence of the Act from the beginning of the next financial year. Members will be aware of the severe negative impact upon the Social Services budget that has 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 review the policy but no indication that any major change is likely.
- On 11th November, the Minister issued a Written Statement - Further Update on Reform of the Arrangements for Paying for Social Care and Support. He regrets that continued uncertainty about relevant UK reforms means that he is still not in a position to make informed decisions about the position in Wales. However, Welsh Government will move ahead with implementing an updated financial assessment and charging framework under Act. The regulations and code of practice relating to Parts 4 and 5 of the Act, introducing the updated framework, were laid before the National Assembly on 3rd November.
- The key elements of the framework include:
- one set of financial assessment and charging arrangements for non-residential and residential care and support rather than one for each at present;
- maintaining the present weekly maximum charge and "buffer" for non-residential care and support, as well as the current capital limit used to determine who pays the full cost of their residential care themselves;
- maintaining the current individuals, and forms of care and support, for which a charge cannot be made and introducing a new provision of up to six weeks free reablement to enable a person to maintain or regain their ability to live independently so as to promote the prevention ethos of the Act;
- introducing more transparency by extending the requirement for all those who receive a charge to receive a statement detailing this and its calculation;
- introducing a consistent, universal review process to enable a person to query charges made and correct errors;
- maintaining deferred payments in residential care to enable those whose property may need to be sold to pay for this to delay its sale until a time more appropriate for them; and by introducing the ability of a local authority to charge a low set rate of interest on the amount deferred; and
- allowing authorities to recover charges and to create a charge over land where a debt occurs.
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
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
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services
Corporate Management Team
Philip Evans, Director of Social Services