Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services
The Care Council for Wales celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and I would like to acknowledge what has been accomplished during this period.
The Care Council for Wales is the social care workforce regulator in Wales, responsible for promoting and securing high standards of conduct and practice among social care workers and high standards in their training.
It came into being as the first ever regulator for the social care workforce, fulfilling a long held ambition within the sector. It has put in place a comprehensive approach to regulation where none existed before. The Council’s work to set standards is now part of the fabric of social services and social care in Wales, providing the framework for a professional, well qualified workforce to practice.
The Care Council was set up to be a very different type of regulatory body, one in which all interested key groups would have a voice, with service users, carers and the general public being in the majority. Its work has been carried out drawing upon this diverse and rich blend of contributions, anchored by the lay majority. This is a blueprint for citizen-led regulation. Through all of its work, the Council has worked in close partnership with stakeholders in the sector, engaging employers, universities and many others.
The Council’s codes of practice, crafted in partnership with people using services, carers, as well as practitioners and employers across Wales and the other three countries of the UK have provided a unified framework to express the value base of social care and enable service users and their carers to understand what they can expect from social care workers.
Over the ten years since it came in to being, the Council has taken forward a comprehensive programme of work that has created a well respected framework to drive up standards in the workforce. This includes regulation of key groups of staff, the development of social work as a profession through regulation, degree level training and continued professional development, and a framework of qualification and training programmes to promote a positive profile of social services and social care.
Last year the social care and social work workforce task group reported that significant progress has been made in workforce management and policy over the last 10 years. I know that the Council’s work has been a major factor in this achievement.
As we go forward with our programme for change in social services over the next few years, we will need to continue to reinforce the key value of the workforce. A stable, well trained and qualified workforce with key professional roles at its heart is central to our ongoing success.
The Council will continue to be a central partner in our work, and I want to congratulate them for the contribution they have made over the last ten years. I know I can count on their energy and determination in the future.