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The group’s Terms of Reference were agreed by the members.

Matthew Jenkins, Deputy Director of Partnership and Co-operation Division in the Social Services and Integration Directorate of Welsh Government was accepted by the members, to serve as Chair. He suggested small working groups meet and progress activity in between the main MAG meetings. These could be used to focus on issues and work being discussed by the main group, then come together and present recommendations and ideas to the Minister.

Verbal presentations were given by Daisy Cole, Office of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales (OPCW) about Carers Respite / Short Breaks including the OPCW’s “Rethinking Respite” report; followed by Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales. A detailed discussion followed and a key issue identified was ensuring a range of respite options are available and suitable for carers and individuals when they require it.

Members discussed sources of information, advice and assistance (IAA) and how commissioned or third sector services could help with flexibility of support; how to help individuals and carers to understand the Social Services and Well-being Wales Act 2014, and their rights under this legislation. This includes the right to a carers’ needs assessment for care and support needs, and to have any eligible needs met, and how these rights could be better signposted. Officials confirmed Welsh Government was planning a publicity campaign to highlight the carers’ rights contained in the 2014 Act, building on the initial publicity campaign in 2016, when the legislation was first implemented.

The priorities to be considered for 2019-2020 were discussed, including opportunities for the MAG to consider future funding in respect of carers activity to support the three national priorities. It was recommended by members that an official from Welsh Government, representing primary care policy, join the MAG.

Members were informed that the call for written evidence by the National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 in relation to Carers closed on 20 September. The Inquiry would then progress to its next phase of verbal evidence sessions.

Action points

  • follow-up work with various members of the MAG to be to be arranged by Welsh Government’s Older People and Carers Branch. A small group of members will consider and make recommendations for the format, membership and processes to be used in establishing and operating the new group
  • a small working group to be formed to develop recommendations for the Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care, focused on “Supporting life alongside caring”. The working group to provide ideas for consideration at the third MAG meeting in early 2019.