Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
How does this affect my care and support?
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act is a new law that gives you more of a say in the care and support you receive.
To support you to achieve well-being, you can make decisions about your care in partnership with professionals. To help you to do so, you have easy access to information and advice about what is available in your area.
Carers have an equal right to be assessed for support, to those that they care for, and more people are entitled to Direct Payments.
A new assessment process for care and support is based on what matters to you as an individual. It considers your personal strengths and the support available to you from your family, friends and others in the community.
The assessment is simpler and can be carried out by one person on behalf of a range of organisations.
There are more services to prevent problems getting worse, so the right help is available when you need it.
Stronger powers to keep people safe from abuse or neglect have also been introduced.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force in April 2016.
For more information please see: http://gov.wales/topics/health/socialcare/act/?lang=en
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act do?
It brings together and modernises social services law in Wales. It changes the way social services are delivered to improve the well-being of the people of Wales.
You have more of a say in your care and make decisions in an equal partnership with professionals.
You are able to get information and advice to help you.
Organisations such as local authorities and the NHS work in partnership to make systems simpler and more efficient.
When did the Act come into force?
The Act was operational from the 6 April 2016.
What does "well-being" mean?
Well-being means you are happy, healthy and comfortable with your life and what you do. The Act sets out a definition of well-being for people who need care and support. Welsh Government has produced a Well-being Statement to look at the well-being outcomes people who need care and support, and carers who need support can expect to achieve.
But what if I don’t think I can make my voice heard properly?
Your family and friends can take part in discussions and help you.
If this isn’t an option for you, you are able to access advocacy services.
Does it keep people safer?
There is a National Independent Safeguarding Board who considers the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements across Wales.
They monitor performance throughout the country and make recommendations to the Welsh Government about improvements that can be made.
Laws to protect adults and children from abuse or neglect have also been strengthened.
What does the Act do to make sure people get the support they need before they reach crisis point?
The local authority and health board work together to assess the population and find out what care and support is needed in their area. This indicates the preventative services that need to be made available. Local authorities provide an information, advice and assistance service for people. Local authorities must promote the involvement of people who receive care and support, in the design and delivery of services, along with alternative delivery models including; social enterprises, co-operatives, user-led services and the voluntary sector.
What are alternative delivery models?
A social enterprise is a business with profits re-invested back into its services or the community.
A co-operative is a group of people acting together voluntarily to meet an economic and social need in their community.
User led services are run and controlled by the people who use support services.
The Welsh Government’s Social Business Wales website has information about how to set up a social enterprise.
What is different about my assessment process?
Assessment is simpler, and based on your needs.
It is completed in partnership with you and your family, and the professional working with you. A conversation takes place to establish what matters to you and what you need to achieve well-being. This considers your strengths, and the resources and options available to you - including any support the local authority may provide.
Are there any changes to Direct Payments?
More people are now able to receive Direct Payments if they want to. This means you are given the money to organise your own care and support to meet your well-being outcomes, increasing your personal control and choice.
How do organisations work together to improve well-being?
In particular local authorities and health boards work closely so health and social care is better integrated. Together, they assess care and support requirements in their area and then identify and provide what services are needed.
The assessment and care planning process requires organisations to work together in an integrated approach to reduce duplication.
I am a carer, what changes for me in particular?
As a carer, you have an equal right to an assessment for your support needs, and to receive an appropriate level of support from your local authority, as the person you are caring for.
I am in foster care. Do I get more support?
If you and your foster family want to stay together when you reach the age of 18, you will be supported to do so until you are 21. This may be extended to your 25th birthday if you are in education or training.
Are there any changes to the adoption process?
The National Adoption Service was established in 2014. It brings together all local councils to work together with voluntary adoption organisations in Wales. Results are already showing that the process is now quicker with better support available to families.
Are there changes to how I pay for care and support?
The way you pay for care if you have the financial means to do so is uniform across Wales - there is one set of assessment and charging arrangements for all adults asked to pay for their care. This is for both residential and non-residential care.
Everyone paying a charge receives a detailed statement explaining its calculation and it can be queried where necessary.
In 2011, Welsh Government announced a cap on the amount councils can charge for non-residential care and support - this cap is currently £80 per week.
How will we know if the Act is successful?
Local authorities across Wales are recording their performance, and will be able to compare themselves with other areas. They are able to learn and improve by sharing best practice. The Welsh Government reports on progress towards well-being in an annual report.