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Written Statement - Well-being and National Outcomes Framework for Social Services

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Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services

Last month I announced that following consultation we will refer to the draft Bill by its ‘working title’ of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.

I want to set out how my policy in relation to the well-being of people is developing, and tell you about the consultation on our approach to the development of a National Outcomes Framework. 

The consultation in relation to the Bill set out our intention to ensure that social services in Wales are working to maintain and enhance the well-being of people. It set out our working definition of the ‘well-being’ of people for those purposes. I know that stakeholders welcomed this approach, and the opportunity to shift the emphasis from services to individual need, and to take a rights based approach.  

I have also made it clear that I believe we must have much more effective multi lateral national leadership arrangements, with local accountability for delivery. I have already said that I will underpin this with a coherent framework of national outcomes, which will apply to every part of the sector.  

Work is progressing to ensure that the principle of promoting well-being for people – i.e. children, adults and carers - will be central to the proposed new Bill. I believe that this is the way we will ensure that we focus on individual need. Focussing on well-being plays much more strongly into the prevention and early intervention service model that we wish to see in place, as well as supporting the rights based approach built here in Wales. It is fundamental to our commitment to giving people a strong voice and real control.

It flows from this, that we should define the ‘well-being’ of people, and that the national outcomes framework should also be based on the well-being of individuals who have needs for care and support.
The definition  of ‘well-being’, in this context, builds on broad powers currently placed on local authorities and the local health boards to promote the improvement of the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area; that extends to some 3 million people living in Wales. The definition will ensure that our rights based approach and the important role that families have in individuals’ well-being is rooted in future arrangements for care and support.  

The ‘well-being’ in relation to individuals may relate to any of the following:

a) physical and mental health and emotional well-being;
b) protection from abuse and neglect;
c) participation in education, training and recreation;
d) domestic, family and personal relationships;
e) the contribution made by them to society;
f) securing the rights and entitlements; and
g) social and economic well-being.

In relation to a child ‘well-being’ includes:
a) physical, intellectual, emotional, social and emotional development
b) the meaning of “welfare” for the purposes of the Children Act 1989

In relation to an adult, ‘well-being’ includes:
a) control over day-to-day life
b) participation in work

When it is in place, the National Outcomes Framework will set out very clearly what people can expect from social services and make sure that we are working together to promote people’s well-being. It will help us to see where we are doing well and where we need to improve. We will be able to measure the contribution we make.

This will be one framework which recognises the contribution of all social service providers. I want us all to be working towards the same set of important outcomes and to take responsibility for making sure that people get high quality services that they are satisfied with.

This week we are beginning the consultation on the Approach to the Development of a National Outcomes Framework for Social Services in Wales. This includes how the well-being of people will form the basis of the framework. I want to use a specific approach to developing the framework and this is what this consultation is about.

I am consulting now because I want to give everybody an opportunity to contribute. It is only by working together that we will deliver the outcomes for people who need care and support so it makes sense that everyone has an opportunity to be involved at an early stage. To get us to this stage we have worked closely with stakeholders from across the sector, and that has helped enormously.

This is the first step. We will be moving quickly to set out what our high level national outcomes will be, in order to further inform our work.