Welsh strategy doomed without extra resources say council leaders

Assembly government plans to shift the balance of social care in Wales from acute to preventive services will not work without a significant increase in resources, council leaders have warned.

The Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru and Welsh Local Government Association said existing resources were insufficient to deliver the assembly government’s 10-year social care strategy, in their response to the consultation which closed last week.

The strategy, Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities, called for a shift from a system that was largely crisis-oriented to one based on prevention and earlier intervention.

WLGA head of policy,  Beverlea Frowen, said Ann Lloyd, the Welsh assembly government’s director of health and social care had accepted there were insufficient resources to deliver the strategy.

Frowen said it had called for an assessment of current pressures in the system and an implementation plan with a clear financial strategy.

She added: “Without this the pace of change and credibility to deliver will be seriously compromised.”

The ADSS Cymru said that without “careful targeting” the prevention agenda “was not affordable”.

Joint chair Joe Howsam said acute services had to be maintained while resources were poured into prevention in order to make savings at the acute end in the future.

He said: “Rebalancing should not be at the expense of core services to the most needy. There are opportunities to reduce expenditure over time but only if ‘invest to save’ is made in early intervention.”

The associations also called for a senior civil servant to oversee the strategy’s implementation.

What was in the strategy?
● The strategy called for changes in the make-up and skills of the workforce to reflect demographic changes and greater joint working with other sectors.
● It demanded more cross authority collaboration in designing and delivering services and more shared social care management posts.
● But it did not set specific targets or timescales for implementation.

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