Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care
We recognise the continued pressure on local authorities across Wales to deliver services which safeguard and support children, their families and ageing population with increasingly complex care needs, whilst managing growing demand and a challenging economic climate.
These pressures have been exacerbated by the UK’s Government continuing constraints on public spending and the ongoing impact of tax and welfare reforms which have disproportionately affected our more deprived communities.
We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work, dedication and commitment of local authorities across Wales who are continuing to deliver vital high quality services in the face of these challenges. In recognition of this and to support the sustainability of social services we will be providing an additional one-off £10 million of funding to local authorities in this financial year.
This funding is intended to help local authorities respond to current service pressures and to be better placed to plan and meet the demands and challenges that the coming winter period will undoubtedly present, ensuring that core social services are better positioned to manage unexpected or increased demands. Honouring our commitment to provide greater flexibility to local government in using their resources, it will be for local authorities to determine how this additional funding is used to support the delivery of their social services functions.
So that a preventative approach continues to be at the heart of delivery, this may mean helping to address workforce challenges such as high turnover and vacancy rates, a growing reliance on agency staff and continuing professional development needs to support a sustainable workforce. For Children’s services this could mean focussing on mitigating existing pressures such as placement costs or enhancing early support and advice for families. For winter pressures this could mean planning for and responding to additional demands on social care resources, such as domiciliary care packages, reablement beds and care and repair services, in order to enable social services to support people in their homes and communities.
By supporting local authorities with this additional funding to address in year pressures, we hope it will provide greater capability for local government to work alongside us in 2019-20 to continue to develop social services so they are resilient and sustainable. As such, this new money is part of a strategy of investment to support local authorities in planning and delivering coherent Children’s and Adults’ Services, focussed on our shared goal of improving outcomes for people requiring care and support.