Beverlea Frowen, director for social services and health improvement for the Welsh Local Government Association, said Wales had decided that quality of care would come through involving the public sector and voluntary services in a “co-production” approach to ensure “sustainable social services”.
She said: “Our relationship with the private sector is that we see them fitting into a public sector. That’s very different from England.”
The private sector would instead have to fit into a public sector framework. She said quality of care should improve through commitment to learning from the best councils and continuous improvement, rather than from outsourcing to the private sector.
Frowen insisted that moves to create a version of a national care service were not about funding cuts or increasing control from Cardiff but about improving efficiencies in commissioning and procurement.
She said that the urgency of reforms in Wales had been brought on by financial pressures, though these are seen as an evolution rather than a large-scale reorganisation.
Frowen echoed the comments of Gwenda Thomas, the minister responsible for social services in Wales, when she said: “Without some serious injection of money we are going to be significantly under pressure.”
She said there were concerns about a lack of understanding of the impacts of the Westminster reforms on Wales, particularly with welfare reform measures and personal budgets for all by 2013 in England.
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