Carers' Ministerial Advisory Group minutes: 09 March 2021
Minutes from the Carers' Ministerial Advisory Group meeting held on 09 March 2021.
A PDF download of this document will be available soon.
In this page
|Arwel Ellis Owen||Chair|
|Julie Morgan||Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services|
|Vanessa Webb||Swansea University|
|Marie Davies||Powys THB|
|Elaine Gilbert||Powys THB|
|Rhian Webber||Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB|
|Kate Young||All Wales Forum|
|Esyllt Crozier||Social Care Wales|
|Simon Hatch||Carers Trust Wales|
|Claire Morgan||Carers Wales|
|Valerie Billingham||Older People’s Commissioner’s office|
|Sean O’Neill||Children in Wales|
|Dianne Seddon||Bangor University|
|David Hughes||Merthyr LA|
|Kathy Proudfoot||Vice chair of COLIN – Bridgend LA|
|Angela Hughes||Cardiff and Vale UHB|
|Melanie Laidler||Aneurin Bevan UHB|
|Junaid Iqbal||Public Health Wales|
|Welsh Government officials|
|Anthony Jordan||Deputy Director, Inclusion & Corporate Business|
|Shelley Davies||Head of Partnership and Integration|
|Matt Jenkins||Deputy Director, Futures and Integration|
|Rachel Lewis||Head of Older People and Carers Branch|
|Ceri Griffiths||Senior Policy Manager, Older People and Carers|
|Ben O’Halloran||Carers’ Policy Officer|
Jon Day - Social Care Wales
Ffion Johnstone - Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
Jane Tremlett - Carmarthenshire County Council
Elizabeth Flowers - Children’s Commissioner’s office
Bethan Jones Edwards - ADSS, Denbighshire Council
Amanda Phillips - Vale of Glamorgan Council
1. Welcome and previous meeting minute – Arwel E Owen (chair)
The Chair welcomed everyone and thanked members for attending this meeting.
Rachel Lewis gave a brief update on the vaccination work, stating that officials have been working with carers’ organisations on the self-identification letter, which allows carers who are not already known to their GPs to register for a vaccination. A Q&A session will be held in the afternoon to promote awareness of this development and answer any queries people may have.
The young carers ID card scheme is progressing well with 11 local authorities looking to launch on the 15th- 16th March. The Deputy Minister will be attending launches for Torfaen LA and the pan regional north Wales LA launch sponsored by Wrexham AFC. The Deputy Minister will also be releasing a public statement to highlight the progress made so far.
Carers Trust UK have organised a bilateral event with the Deputy Minister HSS, and Scottish Minister for Public Health and Sport, to meet with a group of young carers and young adult carers to mark Young Carers’ Action Day – 16th March.
2. The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
The Deputy Minister thanked all MAG members for their contributions and advice over the past 2 years, especially during this critical period. The strategic oversight of this group has helped Welsh Government to support carers in Wales. The vital role unpaid carers’ play is now in the spotlight. This increased awareness must be capitalised on.
There were 91 responses to the public consultation and although people cannot be reached directly, the Deputy Minister would like respondents to know how important and revealing some of these responses have been.
There has been very good progress to support carers with the guidance on vaccines has been updated.
Unpaid carers who are known to GPs can wait for their call confirming their vaccine appointment. Those who are not known will need to fill out the self-registration form and wait for their appointment. A link to the self-referral form and update was shared: News release here: and webpage here.
The Deputy Minister was pleased to see the great progress being made with the young carers ID card.
Funding of 150k for 2021/22 will be available to local authorities to fund additional costs related to launching a new card, or transitioning an existing card to the national ID card model. The aim is for all LAs to offer an ID card by 2022. Carers Trust Wales have produced resources for awareness raising in schools, health settings and pharmacies to increase professional understanding.
Angela Hughes highlighted a ‘young carers in school’ project in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan area. This project has successfully raised awareness of the needs of young carers.
It was suggested that more connections could be made between different government policies such as the Additional Learning Needs Code. For example, by identifying sibling carers through early diagnosis of their siblings with additional needs. Conversations could be had with officials who are working on this code to consider how these two work streams could align.
Simon Hatch briefly commented that as local authorities ease restrictions, one of the main issues for young carers is accessing face to face support once again. There is a worry that this will not be a priority. It was stressed that it is very important that this is a key part of guidance from Welsh Government, for local government, going forward about considering young carers as they reopen services.
The Deputy Minister confirmed this issue can be brought to discussions on easing lockdown. Welsh Government has tried to prioritise young people in all its deliberations and decision making.
The Chair thanked the Deputy Minister for all her involvement with this agenda over the past 2 years.
3. Integrated Care Fund 2021/22 – Shelley Davies
The fund has been extended for a further year - 2021 to 2022. There had been discussions about ring fencing allocations of money for the prioritised groups but this did not proceed because RPBs wanted flexibility to identify priorities and projects. With arrival of COVID-19, fortunately a large number of ICF projects were already supporting carers or able to adapt, or were enhanced. Many were helping with basic needs when people were in lockdown, eg. access to food.
There has been an increase in investment of funds to projects whose primary beneficiaries are unpaid carers. This followed direction from Welsh Government having analysed 2018-19 allocations for carers. In 2019-20 has increased to 3% of spend, increasing to over £2.4m. RPBs have done more because that figure fails to capture other projects indirectly benefitting carers e.g. those for older people. Capital investment side of ICF has also increased - to over £6.6m in 2019-20 and further increases indicated for 2020-21. Have also been highlighting the social value sector. Across all 7 RPBS they should be reaching levels of 20% of investment in this sector, which can realise benefits for carers. Not all have reached this percentage target.
The annual ICF report for 2019-20 is being prepared for publication. It will include case studies and show direction of travel from previous year. The formal evaluation of the ICF has been awarded to Old Bell 3. It will review from start in 2016-17 through to 2020-21 inclusive. Full report will be due in August 2021 and will look at the c.400 projects grouped by topics for example, place based care; mental health services; assistive technology.
2021-22 will be a transition year pending start of new regional funding programmes from April 2022.
Government will need to agree the future programmes and officials want a clear lead in time for RPBs so they can plan.
4. Whitepaper - Rebalancing social care – Matt Jenkins
The consultation for this paper closes on 6th April. This work is aligned with that of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Paying for Social Care. The Minister for Health and Social Services will be making an Oral Statement later this month. Work in Wales is in a similar timeframe with that of Scotland.
The majority of the paper is an analysis of structural challenges with an ongoing commitment to current social services legislation e.g. environmental; workforce, funding, the care market and demographics. It seeks to change the focus to quality and value in commissioning care services. Price is currently the main determinant of success in the care market. Limited resources will be a key challenge going forward for all sectors.
Want to move towards joint planning and commissioning of services so will create a new national framework and promote standardised commissioning processes. However, cannot have one size fits all approach.
Statutory bodies will remain responsible for functions but will be bound by the national framework. There will also be a new national office to work in partnership with stakeholders. Unclear where that will sit, but could play a role alongside the inspectorate.
The paper also considers integration. There is research looking at the effectiveness of RPBs because we want them to work more effectively and get them to do more, to focus on their core mission - population needs assessments, co-operation in planning and commissioning. Also looking to RPBs becoming legal entities with their own staff and resources. Whilst the White paper does not scope the whole breadth of RPB activity, this is an area of work that could be investigated further.
Believe the proposals can improve social care and reduce complexity, but ensure local accountability. True test will be seeing improvement in outcomes for people with care and support needs, including unpaid carers.
A number of points were raised following the presentation. Matt J acknowledged the level of concern amongst the RPB carer representatives and has seen the letter from Claire Morgan, in which she wrote to express these and request a future meeting. They need to be recognised as valued partners on RPBs. There is also the work by AWF, funded by Welsh Government, which is due to produce its final report in the next couple of months which should be able to inform the conversation about supporting carer representatives.
Vanessa Web supported the point about focussing on outcomes and quality of the service rather than the cost. However the idea of moving from complexity to simplicity could be dangerous as many individual differences and nuances could be overlooked. Scotland has produced a national care home contract which has brought improvements for workforce pay. Also joint investment could benefit the care sector pay levels.
The White paper is welcome and the work arising from it will be very important for carers in the next 2-3 years. It was suggested the new Carers Charter, resulting from the new Strategy for Unpaid Carers, could help in being a firmer guiding hand for services.
Action point - secretariat to arrange a meeting before 6th April, between Matt Jenkins and 3rd sector representatives to discuss the White Paper, as part of the consultation process.
5. Draft strategy for unpaid carers
The chair confirmed that there is a very pressing timetable which must be hit. The Deputy Minister wants to approve and launch the new strategy before the start of the pre-election period - 24th March.
Once the strategy has been published, members of the MAG will form groups to help officials work on the associated action plan. Will aim to complete that work for publication in the autumn, with agreement from the new Minister. This will help the strategy achieve traction amongst stakeholders and delivery partners.
The consultation summary document is more detailed than the plan and much of the evidence and views submitted will be used to support the MAG work streams to develop the new strategic action / delivery plan.