Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Social Services
The demand for domiciliary support services remains high and longstanding difficulties in recruitment and retention means there are significant challenges for local authorities to ensure there is sufficient service to respond to need.
I am very pleased we are providing an additional £10m of funding to local authorities through the second supplementary budget. This is intended to support their ambitions to increase the capacity of their domiciliary support services in innovative ways as announced by the Minister for Finance and Local Government in the Senedd on 8 March.
Providers of domiciliary support services tell us domiciliary care workers being unable to drive limits what their service can deliver and is a barrier to recruitment. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has agreed to prioritise test dates for Welsh domiciliary care workers who are waiting to sit their driving tests. Domiciliary care workers should speak to their employer about this process.
We want local authorities to use this additional funding to pay for driving lessons for domiciliary care workers and purchase electric fleet vehicles to make these available to domiciliary care workers. We would like this support to be available to services managed by local authorities and commissioned within the independent sector.
This funding may not be able to meet the total demand for driving lessons or vehicles. However, I very much hope it will be used where it will be of most benefit to increase service delivery of domiciliary care.
The purchase of electric vehicles aligns with our decarbonisation agenda. This funding can be used to the benefit of many, through the increased provision of services and contribute to our response to the climate emergency.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.