Gwenda Thomas - Deputy Minister for Social Services
In March I issued a Written Statement that reaffirmed my commitment to introduce further reform to the arrangements for paying for social care in Wales and to set out how I plan to take that forward. This is a further update to Members.
As I relayed at the time, I want this next stage of reform in Wales to continue my policy started in 2011 of a fairer and less complex system of paying for care than the current arrangements, and one which is affordable and sustainable in the longer term. Instrumental in achieving this is our Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 which will provide the legislative framework by which to deliver this reform. I also informed Members of the contract that I had awarded to LE Wales, a leading economics consultancy specialist in public policy economics, to conduct an independent research study to inform and support our further reform work. The focus of the study so far has been to gather, collate and analyse available core data and indicators relevant to the future of paying for care in Wales so as to provide a baseline picture of what currently occurs. I am pleased to report that the study has made steady progress and a first stage report has been completed which I am publishing today. The Report can be accessed at:
LE Wales has now entered the second stage of its work and will seek soundings from the sector to help inform this process and subsequently use this information and data to identify and appraise a set of options for additional reform. The research study is due to conclude in September.
In tandem with the study, it is essential that we engage with stakeholders to seek their considerations and views on the options for this reform. As such I am about to seek nominations for membership of a re-established Paying for Care Stakeholder Advisory Group. I will ensure that the Group is representational of a wide and varied mix of organisations representing the care sector as well as individuals who access care and support services. The Group’s Work Programme will ensure a full range of issues around the paying for care arrangements, and those issues and key factors that could impact upon or influence future arrangements, are considered and debated fully. I will be asking the Group to let me have its views by the autumn once it has had a chance to consider the outcome of the research study.
I am also seeking a meeting with the UK Government’s Minister of State for Care and Support to discuss our respective progress in more detail so as to gain a better appreciation of the challenges we face in delivering our reform agendas.
I will of course ensure Members are kept informed of process.