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Written Statement - Update on Social Care Wales|Gofal Cymdeithasol Cymru  

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The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act received Royal Assent on 18 January 2016.
Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

During introduction of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill into the National Assembly for Wales, I referred to how the Bill will confer new service improvement powers on the Care Council for Wales and provide for a name change to Social Care Wales (SCW).

Changes of this importance require careful and detailed consideration. To assist in this work I therefore have been pleased to have support from the Strategic Improvement Steering Group (SISG), chaired by Sally Ellis. This group of independent experts was appointed in 2013 to help Ministers consider how to take forward improvement in social care. Over the past 6 months their work has focused on the proposals for SCW – its functions, governance and establishment.

During the work of SISG I am pleased that many key stakeholders were able to take part in engagement sessions. I know Sally and her group found this input invaluable and I would like to add my thanks to all those involved. I am keen to ensure that we continue to engage with stakeholders as proposals develop.

I have now received the report from SISG on the future of SCW. It is supportive of our proposals to develop the Care Council’s role, as a powerful, strategic body for improvement in Wales with a focus on innovation and collaboration. It sets out the potential for this body with responsibility for social care workforce regulation and workforce development and crucially service improvement throughout Wales.

I have fully considered the SISG report. I am pleased to be able to accept the broad direction of travel set out, and the significant majority of the detailed recommendations.

Subject to the scrutiny process of the National Assembly for Wales, I intend that SCW will begin its work in April 2017.

In terms of next steps, a detailed transition plan will be developed in partnership with key stakeholders. An advisory panel will be established this year to support the transition process. I have also asked SISG to provide me with further advice on improvement priorities for SCW and for views on important themes and issues as the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill proceeds through scrutiny.

I will provide members with further updates as appropriate.