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Welsh Government Publishes Statutory Guidance
In February 2018 the Welsh Government published a document entitled 'Statutory Guidance' for service providers and responsible individuals on meeting service standard regulations. This document can be downloaded from the following link:
This statutory guidance relates to Parts 3 to 20 of The Regulated Services (Service Providers and Responsible Individuals) (Wales) Regulations 2017 and applies from 2nd April 2018. The statutory guidance and the Regulations it refers to replace requirements under the Care Standards Act 2000 and its associated National Minimum Standards. Section 29 (3) of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 states that providers of regulated services and designated responsible individuals must have regard to this guidance in meeting requirements imposed by regulations under sections 27 and 28 of the Act. Generally this guidance is specifically for providers and responsible individuals of the following regulated services, operating in Wales:
- Care home services
- Secure accommodation services
- Residential family centre services
- Domiciliary support services
The guidance is also relevant to those providers making an application for registration as a service provider under section 6 of the Act. This means that the guidance applies to all services which are required to re-register from 2nd April 2018. Prospective service providers and responsible individuals must demonstrate that they will be able to meet the requirements imposed by the Act and the Regulations and once registered, that they will continue to meet them. Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) will use this guidance to inform its decisions to grant or refuse applications for registration as a service provider.
When the guidance says “must have regard to”, this means that service providers are responsible for deciding how the requirements will be met, taking into account the needs of individuals using the service and the Statement of Purpose for the regulated service. If registered service providers and designated responsible individuals do not follow this guidance, they must provide evidence that their chosen approach enables them to meet the requirements within Parts 3 to 20 of the Regulations. It is clear that the Welsh Government intends that service providers and responsible individuals should follow the statutory guidance and that the CIW should use the statutory guidance when assessing compliance and considering enforcement action in cases of non-compliance.
Service providers, responsible individuals and Registered Managers must use the time between now and the 2nd April 2018 to familiarise themselves with the Statutory Guidance and assess the impact on their existing service provision. Some aspects of the regulations and associated guidance are similar to those under the Care Standards Act 2000 and National Minimum Standards, others are very different.
One approach that service providers could take is to mark up a copy of the Statutory Guidance to identify which areas currently evidence compliance and which areas require more work to achieve compliance. Some areas that will require immediate attention are the Statement of Purpose and a template for this is available on the website of Care Inspectorate Wales. Another area is the service provider's policies and procedures as all of these will require review and revision to ensure consistency and compliance with the Act and the Statutory Guidance. Service providers should also make their staff team aware of the requirements of the Act and Statutory Guidance and alert them to potential changes to policies and working practices. Registered Managers will no longer be required to register with Care Inspectorate Wales from 2nd April 2018 and CIW have recently announced that they will not accept applications from potential Registered Managers. Registration with Social Care Wales will continue to be mandatory for Registered Managers. This change does not mean that Registered Managers are absolved of responsibility under the Act and Registered Managers must be familiar with the Act and Statutory Guidance or they will be in breach of their personal registration with Social Care Wales and thus risk being deemed unfit to practice as a Registered Manager.
One significant change is that in Regulation 67, this includes the requirement where a manager is absent for a period of more than three months, the service provider ensures there is an appropriately qualified, experienced and competent manager, registered with Social Care Wales in place to manage the service. Service providers must, therefore, regard this as a risk to the service, assess the risk via the Business Continuity Plan and have plans in place should the Registered Manager be absent even if that absence is not expected to last more than 3 months.
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