September 2017 is a month of critical decision making by the law makers in Welsh Government. They have completed their formal consultations on a wide range of issues that will affect the provision of care services in Wales and now have to decide whether to amend their draft proposals.
There are many of us who hope that they will change their mind on certain aspects of their drafts as they appear not to achieve any improvements for the people who use the services but put an onus to provide ever increasing form filling for those who provide the services. In addition, there seem to be implications that will impede the recruitment of caring staff.
The wholesale change of responsibilities from the manager to the responsible individual without any apparent impact assessment of the changes seems a very big single step. The entire programme will probably necessitate at best a whole new education and paperwork system for RIs. New sets of detailed instructions to managers will be necessary to show that the managers understand what is expected of them by the RI. RIs for their part will need to document their advice and recommendations to the boards in order to show that if problems arise then who is responsible for the omission or where the neglect is centred and who will be culpable.
All members of staff from not needing more than one DBS (CRB in old money) when they start with annual responsibilities to advise if their circumstances have changed will now need a formal update every year. I understand that the update system will be the best way of achieving this rather than a full application with a full fee every year. Again, as far as I am able to tell no impact assessment has been carried out and as far as I am able to understand there have been no abuse cases involving people in Wales with ‘out of date’ DBSs. However, in order to ensure public confidence, this arrangement seems to be workable and reassuring even if there is the need for a little more paperwork and the workforce being encouraged to take part.
Where some of the workforce will be affected is the compulsory registration within specified time limits. A Level 2 qualification will be necessary within a period and those with difficulties or those of an age where they do a good job but have long passed the age when they want to sit with a paper exercise may be lost. This would be a shame so hopefully, there will be arrangements that take that into account.
These next weeks are unlikely to reveal the thinking not until the Assembly sit down at plenary to consider the final recommendations. I have alerted certain senior Assembly members of the concerns and once the final drafts are published a detailed briefing no doubt will be given.
At the same time, other issues affect providers with many of the EU potential workforce deciding either to go elsewhere or indeed to return to their homeland or other EU countries. EU negotiations over which The Welsh Government has no control will impact on us so we can only watch and wait.