A £14m package of support will be made available to help local government implement major reforms to Wales’ social care system, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford announced today (Friday 27th February).
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will transform the way social services are delivered, promoting people’s independence to give them a stronger voice and more control over the services they need. It will also encourage a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention.
Speaking at a meeting of the WLGA council in Cardiff, the Minister announced a multi-million pound package over the next two years to support the implementation of the Act.
Some of the money – £1m – will be made available in 2015-16 to allow the Care Council for Wales to develop a national learning and development strategy. This will support a comprehensive approach to learning and development to ensure staff across the social care sector, and partners, have the knowledge and skills to deliver the new requirements under the Act, which comes into force in April 2016. It will also ensure organisations are supported to make the culture changes that are necessary.
A further £7.1m (increasing to £11m with local authority match funding) is being made available to support the development and implementation of cross-sector regional training plans.
Funding available through the Delivering Transformation grant will double in 2015-16 to £3m. Subject to budgetary decisions, a further £3m in grant funding will be made available in 2016-17 to support the embedding process, with a view to transferring this sum into the Revenue Support Grant from 2017-18 in recognition of the ongoing change to social services, which the Act is driving.
This package of funding is in addition to the £20m the Minister has already announced for the Intermediate Care Fund in 2015-16, and the additional £10m being made available to local government to fund social services through the Revenue Support Grant.
Professor Drakeford said:
“We have always recognised that the work of implementing the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act – and through it the new system for social care required by Sustainable Social Services – goes much wider than the making of legislation, as important as this is.
“The £14m package of support I’m announcing today will help deliver key areas of work covering workforce readiness, awareness-raising among the wider population and key regional implementation activity.
“To get us to this point, local authorities, health boards and other key partners, including the Care Council for Wales, have already demonstrated considerable regional and national leadership.
“As we move to implementation, all parties will need to sustain this deliberate and high-profile leadership, including reaching out across a wide range of organisations and partners, even beyond the usual boundaries of the traditional social care sector.
“The work underway now will build on the national consensus we have to make the changes we need to improve social services in Wales. We will continue to ensure all the key aspects of Sustainable Social Services are taken forward with the close involvement of citizens and strong joint leadership from local government, the NHS and private and third sector providers.”