Issues and Challenges for Councils
Health & Social Care
Councils in Wales have a statutory responsibility for planning and commissioning social care in Wales, as well as a duty to safeguard individuals. This means that councils are the first point of contact for supporting and protecting vulnerable people. Much of the case work of councillors comes from their role in signposting vulnerable people or their carers to council officers and services that can help.
Each of the 22 councils plan and deliver this statutory responsibility differently; for example, some provide care directly whist some commission services from the private or voluntary sector.
Rapid demographic change, rising demand, pressures and challenges resulting from the pandemic, and insufficient funding are all placing health and social care services under pressure. In addition, there are also challenges with the recruitment and retention of the social care workforce.
In 2018 the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales led to the Welsh Government publishing ‘A Healthier Wales’, their long-term (10 year) national plan for a single system approach to health and social care. Welsh Government also has recently consulted on a Social Care White Paper: Rebalancing Care and Support.
Health & Social Care Acts
The work of councils in social care is guided by The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act which outlines a vision of early intervention, investment in preventative services and the integration of health and social care. Broadly, the Act requires Councils to do the following.
1. People – putting an individual and their needs at the centre of their care, and giving them a voice in, and greater control over, reaching the personal outcomes that help them achieve well-being.
2. Well-being – supporting people to achieve their own well-being and measuring the success of this support.
3. Earlier intervention – promoting the use of preventative approaches within the community to address people’s needs before they become critical.
4. Collaboration – stronger partnership working across all organisations better support people in achieving positive outcomes.
The Act focusses on achieving the outcomes necessary to promote a person’s well-being – as an individual, as part of a family and as part of their community.
The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act provides the statutory framework for the regulation and inspection of social care in Wales. Social Care Wales is the social care regulator in Wales with the responsibility for workforce development of the social care and early years sector as well as supporting social care research and service improvement in Wales. They have three main aims, which are to develop the workforce, improve care and support and increase public confidence in care.
Care Inspectorate Wales has responsibility for registering, inspecting and taking action to improve the quality and safety of services for the well-being of the people of Wales.