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Summary of Social Care Wales’ learning hub resources on the Act

First year students explored the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 learning resources on the information hub and have summarised their content according to the different sections.  These are:

Safeguarding

The Social Services and Well-being Act (2014) puts the ‘individual’ at the centre, it applies to Adults, Children and Carers and is divided into eleven sections. Section 7 covers Safeguarding, although this is a reoccurring theme throughout the Act.

  • Safeguarding is more than protecting people from abuse or neglect, it requires well-being to be at the heart of services and assessments.
  • Public authorities must not restrain individual rights, under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Adult and Children’s Pathway

  • The Act provides an Adults Pathway and Children’s Pathway and provides a definition of a Child or Adult ‘At Risk’. There is a real focus on early intervention and both Adult and Children can be ‘at risk’.
  • A vulnerable adult is defined as ‘At Risk’ if they are in need of care due to mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical or sensory disabilities, illness or age. Someone could also be defined at ‘at risk’ if they are unable to take care of themselves against harm or exploitation.
  • A child defined as ‘At Risk’ is a child who is experiencing or at risk of abuse, neglect or harm.
  • There is a duty for relevant partners to report Adult and Children ‘at risk’ and this then requires local authorities to make enquiries, within ten days.

Safeguarding Boards

  • The Act created Safeguarding Children and Adults Boards across Wales.
  • There are 6 Safeguarding Board areas for Children and Adults – arranged in regions.
  • The main functions of the Boards (a range of statutory agencies) are to prevent, protect and to review practice by raising awareness of policies and undertaking practice reviews and audits.
  • It ensures that all services in local authorities work together to keep children and adults safe. (Multi-Agency Approach)

All Local authorities must know what actions need to be taken/implemented to safeguard people at risk, however other involved agencies like housing and voluntary sector must understand how to work together to protect the individuals at risk.

EVERYONE in the society has a RESPONSIBILITY to prevent and protect children, young people and adults from any kind of harm, abuse or neglect. We all in the society have a responsibility to make sure that every child is growing up in a safe and supportive environment.

Sam, Fatou, Monika, Kat and Wendel

People in the secure estate.

The Secure Estate refers to adults who have social care needs who are in prison, approved premises and bail accommodation (Including those over 18 in youth detention) and children with care and support needs in youth detention, secure accommodation, prison and bail accommodation.

They may need care and support because of serious illness, physical disability, learning disability, mental health problems or frailty because of old age. The duty or care remains the same whether in the community or in the secure estate.

The intention of the Act is to ensure greater continuity of care and support to individuals: before during and after secure estate, which includes resettlement and ongoing support.

The act outlines that as with any individuals in the community, the local authority also has a duty to meet the care needs of people within secure settings.  That they must develop a care plan that takes into account personal circumstances, assessing barriers and risk to that person, and that has regards to that individual’s strengths, capabilities and their own personal outcomes (what they want to get out of their own care). The act also states that the individuals have the right to reviews of their care plans at various times throughout their stay in a secure establishment.

It also suggests LA’s must work with criminal justice agencies to ensure advice and assistance is easily attainable by individuals within a secure estate and to also provide preventative services and harm reducing interventions for those individuals.

New responsibilities under the act state local authorities and local health boards must collaborate in assessing the needs in their area and how many of these needs are being met – including those in a secure establishment.

Hannah and Berinder

Planning and Promoting

This resource focuses on the planning, promoting and co-production of the Social Services and Well-Being Act 2014. It looks further into Sections 2, 14 and 15 and highlighting the core principles of the Act.

Section 2 highlights the well-being and voice and control principles, showing the move towards practitioners and people working together in an equal partnership, moving focus from the process to the outcome. The idea of co-working together aims to give a person a sense of empowerment and involvement in their own care and support needs.

Section 14 highlights the co-production principle. Discussing the need for local authorities, health boards and third sector organisations to work together during the assessment processes. Working together allows for a wide range of experience, knowledge and skillsets to be utilised to its full advantage, ensuring a person’s level of need to determined and met early.

Section 15 highlights the prevention and early intervention principle in order to improve and promote a person’s independence and quality of life. The emphasis lies with proactive as opposed to reactive.

The reader is also informed of how the Public Health Wales, Welsh Local Government Association and Social Services Improvement Agency have created a Population Toolkit available to all, which is designed simplify data gathering in order help or signpost services towards areas of developing their approach.

Joanne Broad, Eleri Owens and Rebecca Lewis

Looked After and Accommodated Children

Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into effect on 6th April 2016. This Act aims to support people of all ages, promote independence by giving people a stronger voice and more control, improve the quality of services, and have these services work together as a team.

Part 6 of the Act (Looked After and Accommodated Children) can be divided into nine sections as follows: 1. Care and support planning, 2. Placements, 3. Keeping in touch, 4. Review of cases, 5. Leaving care, 6. Post-18 living arrangements, 7. Secure accommodation, 8. Children in other types of establishment and 9. Death of a looked after child. Each of these nine sections goes into detail about each sub-topic, and provides information and requirements for Local Authorities (LA’s) to meet whilst working in accordance with the codes of practice.

Throughout Part 6 of the Act, there are a number of themes and repeated requirements and guidelines that LA’s must meet. These include treating children, families and carers with openness and honesty, providing clarity and understanding, ensuring the child’s wellbeing is paramount, work in partnership with family and child, consider child’s views, wishes and needs, safeguarding children, intervention before crisis occurs, advice and support to be easily accessible for children, families and carers, promote positive relationships between social workers and children, families and carers, promote independence, and ensuring children have a strong voice and control.

Overall, Part 6 of the Act provides guidance and legislation for professionals, as well as information and guidance to people who may be affected by the Act to help them understand what to expect from LA’s and the services they offer.

Chelsea Ringrose-Penn, Ffiôn Hughes, Jaymie Bennett and Saffron Jones

Leadership and Management

The SSWB Act (14) set out a requirement for Local Authorities and partners to promote and establish a collaborative/partnership approach to their working. There is an emphasis and requirement to establish a Regional Partnership Board in each of the Seven regions.

Each board is required to respond to the principles of the Act including; managing funding and resources, implement plans for each Local Authority covered by the board, respond to the Population Assessment carried out in accordance with Section 14 of the Act, ensure resources are being used effectively to improve outcomes, prepare an annual report for WAG and ensuring that information is being shared appropriately across the regions.

The following priorities are required to be implemented:

  • Holistic and proportionate assessments and record keeping
  • Greater regional safeguarding for children and adults and reporting suspicions
  • Improved advice and assistance to help members of the public make good health decisions
  • Increased numbers of community, well-being and preventative services
  • Better relationships with the independent sector
  • Shared budgets and integrated services with regards to the health and social care
  • Clearer advocacy requirements

Each of the boards are expected to co-operate and work together. They then must share information between themselves, clearly stating what they wanted to change and how. When new priority areas are agreed, the plan can be formulated and then implemented. The new plan will then be reviewed when it has been used.

There is also an emphasis on ensuring the prioritisation of the integration of services in relation to; older people with complex needs, people with learning disabilities, carers (including young carers), Integrated family support services, children with complex needs (relating to disability/illness) and delivering a pooled budget for care homes (by April 2018).

Chelsey Davies, Emma Jones, Bethan Davies

Assessing and Meeting the Needs of Individuals 

Part 3 Assessing the Needs of Individuals

The assessment and eligibility process considers adults, children and carers regardless of financial resources or the level of care needed.  There is no longer a requirement for carers to provide a certain amount of care.  Eligibility is based upon the need for care and support, not the individual. The national assessment and eligibility tool must be adhered to and considered by the local authority or delegated organisation alongside the five elements of assessment.  These consider and assess, the persons circumstances, personal outcomes, barriers to achieving the outcomes, risks if the outcomes are not achieved, and the individual’s strengths and capabilities .

Practitioners need to use a proportionate and strengths based approach in partnership with the individual to effectively complete the assessment.  Guidelines of the assessment should be clear, detailing how the assessment will be conducted and the process involved, however advocacy should be considered for the individual if necessary. Alongside personal outcomes for the individual, it is also important that potential risks and whether emergency action is needed.  When assessing children, their welfare is paramount and the approach should be child centred

 Part 4 Code of Practice (Meeting Needs)

The Local authority will carry put an assessment and at the end of the assessment a judgement would be made about whether the person has eligible needs for care and support which will be met through a care and support plan, or support plan in the case of a carer. All adults have the right to care and support but sometimes there is a charge. All children and young people have the right to get the support they need to be kept safe. For carers, the act makes it more accessible for carers to get the help and support they need.

Individuals can arrange their own care and support through direct payments. Direct Payments is when individuals are given money by the local authority to purchase their own care and support. Individuals have a right to a care and support plan and local authorities need to work with other services and groups where the plan overlaps. If someone moves to a different local authority, the plan is transferrable so individuals do not need another assessment done.

Part 5 Charging and Financial Assessments  

Local authorities have the power to impose charges for the care and support provision provided under section 35 to 45. These charges can be applied to both adults and children depending on their individual circumstances and the care that is being provided. Local authorities must set out a maximum capped amount that an individual has to pay for the services.  For those who cannot meet the demands of paying for the provisions of service the local authority must provide free care, although this may have specific timeframes set depending on the needs of the individual.  Local authorities must carry out a financial assessment before determining the individual has the ability to pay for their services. This is set out by calculating income and capital.

Once this assessment has been carried out the local authority can assess whether the individual can pay or if not at the present time whether they can access the payment at later dates, for example when a property is sold to free up capital.  Local authorities also have the power to enforce recovery if the money is not paid or the individual refuses to allow an assessment to be carried out.  In this instance local authorities are also able to claim back costs they have incurred due to pursuing an individual for unpaid costs.

The main points from this section of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 is to set out guidelines that local authorities must follow to ensure fair practice is provided and those that cannot pay for the service they need are still entitled to them and therefore are not limited in the care and support they receive. Overall, the section helps to understand why charges are applied to services and how the local authority can assess individuals to determine their financial status in contributing to this if they are able to.

Part 11

Part 11 of the code of practice sets out that local authorities functioning under the act must uphold and fulfil their duty through meeting the care and support needs of adults within the secure estate. Local authorities must also meet the care and support needs of individuals resettling into the community including bail accommodation. Local authorities must take a holistic approach for those who are serving their sentence and when planning their release.  New duties were expected from local authorities following the act and, the responsibility they now hold to support adults regardless of their previous authority.

When looking at children, the home local authority of that child has responsibility to support the needs of that child. The rationale being that this will retain the continuity of care and support arrangements. The act places responsibilities on local authorities to meet the care and support needs of a child, up to 18 years of age accommodated in the secure estate, as they would for any child living within the community, and to help them towards self support as a potential solution.

Chloe Blakemore, Chelcie Preece, Angharad Cook, Sophie Perry and Ceri Haslam

Social Enterprises, Co-operatives and the third sector

The Social Enterprises, Co operatives and third sector section is section 16 of the Social Services and Well being Act.

This section of the Act sets out to ensure that social enterprises, co operatives and user led services work closely together to create an improved integration of health and social care for its users. There is a positive emphasis put on the role of Co-Operatives and user led services- they are deemed as being important in creating services that bring a sense of community and drawing communities together. The aim is to create more accessible care and support for both the service users and their carers as well as identifying which services are needed to support them.

In regards to the community working ‘together’ it highlights the importance of providing each service user with a voice and control of what they wish to gain from the services and to what extent they wish to have their involvement.

It states that Local Authorities should encourage the development of user-led co-operatives that deliver social care and support. As well as also providing “preventative services” which are discussed in Section 15 of the Act. They are to know and understand the needs of those who live in their area,, so that the right services can provide the appropriate support and care.

Social enterprises, which are organisations more interested in helping people and the environment than making a financial profit, are to be used in helping local authorities to intervene early.

The general opinion seems to be that user led co operatives means that people have more control and more of a voice over their services. The aim is to increase and improve communication between these non-profit organisations to meet the needs of our communities.

Kathryn Goddard

 

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