Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
On 21 November 2021, I updated Members about how we would take forward the legislative proposals in the Rebalancing Care and Support White Paper, including our Programme for Government commitments to introduce a strategic National Framework for Care and Support and to legislate to strengthen regional partnership arrangements. I also signalled my intention to establish a national office within the Welsh Government to oversee the implementation of the National Framework.
Following this, the Rebalancing Care and Support programme was set up to deliver these commitments and ensure alignment to other government commitments, including the Fair Work Forum, removing profit from the care of looked-after children, the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill and the UK Government’s Procurement Bill.
A technical group was established last December to consider and provide recommendations on the content of the National Framework. Members included key partner organisations and stakeholders, including commissioners, planners and providers of care and support services. I have now received the technical group’s report containing 26 recommendations for the proposed content of the National Framework. I want to thank members for their time, commitment, experience and expertise in developing this crucial and complex policy.
The National Framework for Commissioning Care and Support will be set out in a statutory Code of Practice. This will be issued jointly under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and as guidance under the NHS (Wales) Act 2006. My officials will now begin the iterative process of producing the draft code of practice, which we intend to consult on next year.
We will continue to engage with the sector and citizens as we develop the National Framework. A small group, made up of members of the technical group, will be set up to co-produce this policy. The technical group may also discuss significant policy developments as this next phase of work progresses.
The technical group’s work has run in parallel with the work of the expert group, which was set up to explore how we could take forward the Co-operation Agreement commitment to create a National Care Service. The Plaid Cymru Designated Member Cefin Campbell and I are considering the expert group’s comprehensive report and recommendations.
The extensive work and recommendations undertaken by both groups are based on and borne out of the intrinsic values, principles, and vision of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. There is a direct alignment and synergy across both sets of recommendations, which I believe provides assurance that the development and implementation of the National Framework provides the first significant steps towards the realisation of a National Care and Support Service.
I will be making a further statement in the new year about how we intend to take the expert group’s recommendations forward and the next steps for the Rebalancing Care and Support programme, including more detailed timings for the consultation about the draft code of practice.