08th May 2017

Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

When it comes to workforce the Care Council for Wales (CCW) has met for the last time and it has been replaced by Social Care Wales. It will encompass the work formerly undertaken by the Social Services Improvement Agency. A new smaller board will overlook the new body and the CCW chair will, along with perhaps two of the old board, remain.

A fresh start with a new chief executive Susan Evans, and a handsome budget will see this body oversee the compulsory registration of social care workers. Depending on whether they are in domiciliary care or residential care will determine when they have to be registered. They will also decide the registration fee. In addition, they will be responsible for setting the qualification standards of each level of the workforce. See Part 4 of the Act.

SCW has three priority areas agreed. Care at home, dementia care and looked after children.

Care at home is not surprising a topic as more and more people in Wales are being encouraged to remain in their own home with a package of care being provided. Local authorities have been told that people’s weekly contribution is capped, originally at £50 per week but this has increased to £70 per week. The workforce do not have as much supervision as workers in care homes as they are much of the time moving from one to another home sometimes working on their own and other times with a colleague. As a result, there is a greater need for training for the workforce to understand how to give good quality care.

Dementia is a growing problem and with extended life expectancy is likely to become one of the most challenging workforce issues that will have to be faced. This applies to both domiciliary and residential care. Homes that provide only general care whether with or without nursing are finding that even residents who are admitted with general needs often gradually become more dementia especially when their primary health problems are addressed and improved. If they were to move on to a solely dementia centred facility then it may be found that the withdrawal of the specialist general care may result in deterioration and their unsettling return to a general facility would be needed.

Rebecca Evans asked me whether I was in favour of the strict categories recently. I responded that times have moved on, providers need to be able to decide whose needs they can support and in so doing the providers will need the support of CSSIW and SCW as well as local authorities and health boards.

Looked after children is a sensitive issue politically and in the press. I am not conversant with those needs and understand that there will be the need to support this sector.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Mike Kemp

Welsh Regulation Specialist

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