Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health
The Welsh Government recognises social care as a sector of national strategic importance, and we have been working to ensure that funding will maximise benefit for the people of Wales who need care and support.
We are acutely aware of the pressures being faced by the sector and by local government - we have listened and we are responding.
It is vital that we support the development of social services that are sustainable for the future. There is no doubt that the public sector is facing unprecedented challenges. We need to continue to build our resilience.
We continue to invest directly in social care in order that we support the NHS and other public services by preventing more costly interventions in the longer term.
We have transformed the social care legislation in Wales to reflect the landscape, and real changes are being seen on the ground - but we know there is more to be done. Outcomes for the person must always be at the heart of the system and prevention has to be the main focus in achieving these.
Today, I am announcing that the extra recurrent £20m made available through consequential funding following the UK government’s March budget, will be invested in 3 key areas:
- £9m will increase funding already made available to manage workforce costs, and promote the stability of the social care market
- £8m will support work to prevent children from entering care and improve outcomes for those experiencing care
- £3m will be provided to local authorities to support respite for carers given the critical role they play
The domiciliary and residential care workforce play a crucial role in society, and the Welsh Government is playing its part in addressing current challenges. We will support the provision of good quality care through improved workforce conditions, and build increased stability and resilience in the sector. We are currently legislating to this effect as part of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act. We are pairing this with an increase to the already announced £10m to help alleviate the pressures associated with the National Living Wage.
We are committed to supporting families and children on the edge of care. We want to reduce the numbers of children taken into care at birth and improve outcomes for children leaving care. Our investment will build on the work of our already successful Integrated Family Support Services, utilising skills and approaches to build capacity and resilience in more families to recognise and address the challenges they face and reduce the need for care. We will also roll-out Gwent’s Reflect project to the whole of Wales. This project seeks to support women who have had at least one child taken into care. Additionally, the funding will support local authorities in the roll-out of the National Fostering Framework.
As a Welsh Government we recognise the contribution of unpaid carers, and have given enhanced rights to carers as part of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act. Carers form the backbone of our ability to provide care and support for those in need of health and social care in Wales. The role of respite care and short breaks in maintaining the well-being of both the carer and the person with care needs is well-established. We have delivered a dedicated fund held by local authorities to deliver respite care.This £20m funding takes additional investment in social care for 2017/18 to £55m.There has been an additional £25m uplift to the Revenue Support Grant and the £10m grant awarded to local authorities to help allay pressures associated with the National Living Wage.