Charities could seize social care services in Wales from the private sector, under plans put forward by Welsh Labour today.
The party’s manifesto for the Welsh Assembly election said it wanted to see community organisations take over social care services currently run for profit.
To facilitate this, the party pledged to increase the use of social investment bonds, which provide start-up cash for social enterprises guaranteed against later results being delivered by the service. It said it would also promote the use of time-banking, where people earn time in lieu for services by providing a service for others.
Labour, which is currently in coalition with Plaid Cymru, is on course to win the election on 5 May and may secure an overall majority, meaning it should be able to translate much of its manifesto into policy.
The pledge sits in stark contrast to the vision for adult social care outlined by the UK government last year, which called for council-run services to be transferred to private or voluntary providers, rather than any diminution of the role of the private sector.
It also goes further than the 10-year plan for social services, issued this year by the Labour-Plaid coalition, which said: “All providers must have a place at the partnership table and we will ensure that the independent sector is able to play its full part.”
Labour said it would also introduce a national looked-after children’s service “to ensure that an adequate placement choice is made available for young people who have to live away from home”. The service would be established under a new Children Act for Wales, to be introduced after the election.
Other new legislation would include a Social Services Act for Wales to simplify existing legislation and “make access to services much easier and more understandable to those who need them”.
On safeguarding, the party said it would explore the possibility of combining both adults and children’s safeguarding procedures.
It also repeated its commitment to national eligibility criteria and a portable assessment for adult care services, set out in the 10-year plan for social services.
Among other pledges it said it would:
• Commission specialist services regionally or nationally
• Review post-qualifying and management training for social workers
• Fight for stricter controls on alcohol pricing
• Place a duty on public bodies to identify a domestic violence lead
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