A new framework for assessing how well Welsh social services are meeting service users’ care and support needs has been issued for consultation by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).
The proposed framework is designed to ensure inspections have a greater focus on the outcomes councils are supporting service users to achieve, which is the intent of the Regulation and Inspection (Wales) bill currently passing through the National Assembly.
This will bring the care regulator’s inspection approach into line with the requirements of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, which takes effect on 1 April next year.
The act places a duty on local authorities to promote the wellbeing of people who need care and support and carers who need support and introduces a national outcomes framework, which sets out what children and adults can expect from social services.
The new inspection framework has been designed to reflect this and builds on the six wellbeing outcomes and associated quality standards for measuring social services performance, set out in the proposed code of practice on measuring social services performance. The Welsh government consulted on the code, issued under the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act, earlier this year. Under this local authorities should:
- Work with individuals and carers to define personal wellbeing outcomes that people wish to achieve and that will ensure local authorities can measure the impact of the care and support they deliver on people’s lives.
- Work with individuals, carers and relevant partners to protect and promote people’s physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing.
- Take appropriate steps to protect and safeguard people with care and support needs and carers who need support from abuse and neglect or any other kinds of harm.
- Actively encourage and support individuals and carers to learn, develop and participate in society.
- Support individuals and carers safely develop and maintain healthy domestic, family and personal relationships.
- Work with and support individuals and carers to achieve greater economic wellbeing, have a social life and live in suitable accommodation that meets their needs.
The proposed inspection framework will also analyse the leadership and governance of a local authority’s social services functions, in order to assess a council’s capacity to improve.
The main focus of each inspection will be the experience and outcomes of service users and inspectors will undertake reviews of individual cases to assess how a council is performing, as well as engaging with service users through focus groups and community meetings.
CSSIW plans to undertake separate inspections of adults’ and children’s services in all 22 Welsh local authorities over a three year period. The six wellbeing outcomes will be used as a starting point, but inspectors will not necessarily cover all of them in every inspection.
Inspectors currently use the Annual Council Review Framework to undertake inspections. Each council produces a report on its own assessment of performance in respect of social services responsibilities. The regulator then analyses each report and corroborates it with evidence from other sources including through inspections.
The new framework will be implemented in 2016-17. Respond to the consultation by 31 July.