How devolution is affecting social care: Phil Hodgson, director, Wales

    Phil Hodgson, statutory director of social services at Blaenau Gwent Council, talks about his experiences.

    “Wales has some very clear policies, for example Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities. This 10-year strategy is very much based around a citizen-centred approach so that people are supported to have control of their life. There are parallels with the English personalisation agenda.

    “As in England, this agenda is changing the role of social work; the critical factors are around protection, enabling and being outcome based. When it comes to safeguarding there is an awful lot of activity going on post Haringey in Wales. All local authorities have been inspected on their safeguarding arrangements in children’s services and a similar audit is going to happen of adults’ services. There is a tension between safeguarding and personalisation but it’s about good social work practice and making sure that in our assessments we weigh up the risks and then mitigate against any that have been identified, for children and adults.

    “I think the benefits of having integrated [children’s and adults’] services in Wales is that social services is a core service within local government. Social services acts as a corporate champion within local government so that vulnerable people don’t slip off the agenda.

    “Social work does have a strong voice in Wales because we have a good relationship with senior civil servants, the assembly government and the Welsh Local Government Association. It also feels that local authorities and the regulatory body are all working on the same agenda, to improve services.”

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