New proposals to increase transparency in the social care sector so that people can make informed decisions about the care they, or their loved ones, receive have been announced.
Under the plans, providers of regulated services in Wales, including care homes, will have to prepare and publish an annual return, setting out the type and quality of the services they offer.
These will be published on the website of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), the regulator of care services, alongside their latest inspection report and will include details about staffing levels, staff turnover, formal complaints and a range of other important matters to help people make those crucial choices about the services they use.
At the same time, local authorities will be required to produce similar reports on how they have carried out their social services functions. This will make it easier for people in Wales and CSSIW to compare services across local authorities and should be a driver for improvement.
The plans also involve a review of the regulation of the social care workforce to ensure it is in-line with UK-wide best practice and is adaptable to the wider transformation of the sector. This includes the requirement for Social Care Wales to keep a register of all social care workers in Wales outlining individuals’ qualifications, knowledge and skills, as well as a list of people removed from the register.
The reformed system of workforce regulation will help ensure vulnerable people are appropriately protected, as well as upholding the rights of individual workers.
The proposals are key parts of the first phase of the implementation of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016. The Act, which received Royal Assent on 18 January 2016, will reform the system of regulation to ensure people receive dignified, safe and appropriate care.
The proposals will also define the type of advocacy services that will be subject to regulation under the Act. The aim of this is to focus regulation on the areas where it will do most good.
Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, said:
“Social care touches the lives of everyone in Wales. At some point we, or our loved ones, may need to use a care home or to receive support to retain independence within our own homes. This is why it’s so important to get the system of regulation and inspection right.
“The Act we passed in January set out a vision for a strong, safe social care sector which treats people with dignity and provides high-quality services. The detail of this reformed system is being set out in two phases.
“This first set of proposals focuses on transparency – making sure people in Wales have all the information they need to compare services. They also refresh the legislation around the social care workforce itself, balancing the need for public protection with the rights of individual workers.”
People across Wales are encouraged to have their say on the new proposals through taking part in the Welsh Government’s consultation, which opened today. The consultation will last for just over 12 weeks and will close at midnight on the 20th September.