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Major reforms to Social Services in Wales unveiled

Radical new plans to put social services on a sustainable footing were announced today by the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas.
Thursday 17 February 2011
Major reforms to Social Services in Wales unveiled

Sustainable Social Services for WalesA Framework for Action sets out the Assembly Government’s plans to renew social services and social care for the next decade.

Around 150,000 people receive some form of social care in Wales every year and more will become dependent on such services, or have a relative that relies on them.

The plans include:

  • introducing portable assessments so that if a person moves location they do not have to have their needs reassessed;
  • establishing a national outline contract for care homes to improve consistency of services; and,
  • establishing a National Adoption Agency to improve rates of successful adoptions.

Gwenda Thomas said:

“This is a visionary statement on the future of our social services for the next decade. We have used this opportunity to think carefully about the small number of big changes that we need to focus on to make a positive impact and renew social services in Wales.”

The key to achieving the Assembly Governments vision will be to ensure that services are centred around the citizen.  Users and their carers will have a much stronger voice and greater control over services.  Services will be built around people – not around organisations.

Mrs Thomas added:

“Social services must become sustainable but sustainability means much more than funding.  It will require more fundamental changes than simply becoming smarter at what we already do.  We need to focus on what is really important and ensure that we are all working to the same ends by securing more efficient and effective ways to deliver services through greater collaboration and integration. This paper gives us the means to do that.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:

“High quality responsive citizen centred social services are essential to a successful Wales. I expect services to be built round people not organisations. This framework gives us that opportunity.”

A National Social Services Partnership Forum will be established to drive the changes.

Other commitments include:

  • ensuring that social workers and social care workers are at the heart of services.  This will ensure that the workforce is more confident and is supported in applying its own professional judgement;
  • cutting complexity, by reducing  the number of  Local Safeguarding Children Boards and cutting  back on the detailed guidance sent out by government;  
  • better integrating services by rolling out Integrated Family Support Teams and re-ablement services across Wales; and,
  • changing the approach to target setting and the type of guidance issued, with providers and commissioners of services becoming accountable for quality and safety to allow for a  better focused and streamlined regulation and inspection.


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