Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH): 11 APRIL 2016
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 14 MARCH 2016
C3114 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELL-BEING (WALES) ACT 2014 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -
Cabinet was provided with an overview of the changes that would be introduced by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 was the most substantial piece of primary legislation enacted by the Assembly that would have a profound impact on the provision of social care in Wales.
The Act was very extensive, consolidating in one place much of the legislative framework for social services in Wales. It repealed many previous laws and guidance related to care and support and replaced them within the Act. Appendix 1 attached to the report listed the consequential repeals and amendments to existing primary legislation. The new law built on the White Paper, Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action, which called for modernisation of the law for care and support in ways that reflected the strengths of structures, systems and policy in Wales. It was intended to transform the way social services was delivered in Wales and covered adults, children and carers. The Act brought in new duties for local authorities, local health boards and other public bodies.
The Act provided a new statutory framework for social services in Wales which would operate in its entirety from 6 April, 2016. It consisted of three main elements – the Act itself, regulations made under the Act, and supporting codes of practice and statutory guidance. Appendices 2 and 3 attached to the report contained links to those which were approved by the Assembly in December 2015. The key principles described in the Act were summarised as follows:
• We must support people who have care and support needs to achieve well-being.
• People are to be put at the heart of the new system by giving them an equal say in the support they receive.
• Partnership and co-operation must drive service delivery.
• Services will promote the Prevention of escalating need and ensure that the right help is available at the right time
A great deal of preparatory work had been done by the Council in collaboration with regional partners, especially Cardiff Council. This would continue right up to April and beyond. The programme of change involved nine workstreams, set out in Appendix 4 attached to the report. It was managed through task and finish groups, each of them led jointly by the relevant heads of service from both councils. The Director of Social Services in the Vale of Glamorgan was the regional lead director for the programme. The Welsh Government had provided a Delivering Transformation Grant (DTG), since 2014/15, to support plans by local authorities for making the transition to the new arrangements. As required by this grant, regional governance arrangements were in place to monitor and oversee progress.
New services were being developed. This included moves towards providing an Information, Advice and Assistance Service, as required by the Act. It was being designed to ensure that people could get access to the right help at the right time to meet their individual situation. Appendix 5 attached to the report contained a draft diagram that set out what the service would include across the region. The development of the service was still work in progress as the Council gained a better understanding of what was required and what currently exists.
An important part of this Information, Advice and Assistance Service would be single points of access for social care services which adults, children and carers could use easily. A national resource directory was being developed that would help people to get accurate, up-to-date information at any time, either at home using the internet or by contacting a single telephone number or email address. This resource directory would be available across Wales and its success would depend on local authorities, health boards, third sector and the independent sector uploading details of the resources they provided to assist people looking for care and support. This national information portal for Wales had been named Dewis Cymru. It already existed for residents in North Wales, helping people to think about their well-being needs and to find services/resources which could assist them. Dewis Cymru could be accessed via this link www.Dewis.Cymru / www.Dewis.Wales. Work on establishing the regional content for the Vale and Cardiff was progressing well.
As the Act implementation date approached, briefings on the Act would increase at a team level to support staff through this period of transition. The delivery of services and business continuity would remain the top priority but it had to be balanced by work to continue to deliver changes in services and policy at pace over the next twelve months and beyond, in line with the core principles outlined in the Act. It was important that the Director was equipped with the delegated authority needed to manage this balance as well as possible. The new Statutory Code of Guidance setting out the duties and responsibilities of Directors of Social Services in Wales was currently laid before the National Assembly for Wales.
After presenting this item, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services stated that he was pleased to have attended the Member’s presentation on this matter that was held the previous week and he was very grateful to Officers for their thorough briefing. He also reminded Cabinet that he was mindful of the legal implications that could arise in future from the new legislation.
The Director of Social Services recommended that the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) for information.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the contents of the report be noted.
(2) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Social Services in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member(s) to ensure that the Authority was compliant with any new charging arrangements made under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the Act”) and to take all necessary action to comply with the Act
(3) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Social Services in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member(s) to undertake such duties and functions pursuant to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and associated regulations as they come into force.
(4) T H A T a review of the existing officer delegations for the Social Services Directorate be undertaken in light of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and associated regulations.
(5) T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) for information.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure that elected Members were kept informed about fundamental changes in the legislative and policy framework which underpinned the work of Social Services.
(2) To ensure that the Authority was compliant with any new charging arrangements made under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (“the Act”) and to take all necessary action to comply with the Act.
(3) To ensure that the appropriate delegated authority was given to the Director of Social Services in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member(s) to manage implementation effectively.
(4) To ensure that a review of existing officer delegations was undertaken following implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and associated regulations.
(5) To keep members of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) informed.
Attached as Appendices – Supplementary Information [Document 1] [Document 2]
Report to Cabinet – 14 MARCH 2016