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Our Programme for Government contains a number of commitments that set out our vision for children’s services in Wales. Our ambition is for whole system change and, at its heart, we want to see more children and young people being enabled to live with their families and in their home neighbourhoods with many fewer needing to enter care. We also want to ensure the period that young people are in care is as short as possible.
We are committed to keeping families together. Our vision is to redesign how we look after children and young people so we can do the best for our young people, their families and communities by providing services that are locally based, locally designed and locally accountable.
As part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, there is a clear commitment to ‘eliminate private profit from the care of children looked after’ as a key component of this radical agenda.
The initial focus of our proposals is on the private provision of residential care for children, alongside independent sector foster care.
A multi-agency Programme Board has been established to progress the technical and development work to support our legislative options, shape our future approach and deliver market stability.
Summary of Programme Board discussion – 6 December 2022
The consultation on proposed changes to legislation on social care and continuing health care has closed.
Just over 200 responses have been received in total, with 151 of these relating to legislative proposals to support the eliminating profit agenda. Advice on the main messages arising from the consultation will be put to Ministers shortly and the Welsh Government’s response to the consultation will be published in February/March.
A Ministerial Oversight Board to strengthen political leadership and direction, alongside a new Delivery Group which will focus on delivery and monitor progress are to be set up.
- The Programme Board for Eliminating profit will continue and will report to the Ministerial Oversight Board.
- A roadmap to inform the work of the delivery group is in preparation.
- The Ministerial Oversight Board, to be chaired by the First Minister will meet for the first time in March/April.
Care experienced summit was held on 3 December with five Ministers and over forty care experienced young people in attendance. A declaration, setting out proposed actions, is to be issued in February 2023.
A final draft of the Corporate Parenting Charter has been developed and should be signed off by members of the Corporate Parenting Implementation Group in January. Following sign off by Ministers, a series of engagement sessions and events will be held with the public sector in early 2023, including with health, education and housing.
An analysis is underway into Local Authorities Placement Commissioning Strategies and feedback will be provided to Local Authorities early in the New Year.
Ministers have now agreed funding for Local Authorities of £68m for eliminating profit and radical reform over the next three years.
Phase 2 workstreams
3 new workstreams have been established to feed into the programme board.
- Workstream 1 – Expanding and developing new Local Authority/Regional provision.
- Workstream 2 – Expanding and Developing new Not-For-Profit provision
- Workstream 3 – Transitioning the independent/private sector
Workstream 1 met for the first time in November, with initial meetings set up for Workstreams 2 and 3 in January.
Impact and risks
The risk register and integrated impact assessment have been updated to reflect the range of mitigating actions that are in place. Both remain working documents and will be regularly updated to reflect developing situations. Responses received to the primary legislation consultation will also be reflected in both documents.