Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
I want to update Members on the work of the Strategic Improvement Steering Group (SISG). The group was appointed by Mrs Gwenda Thomas AM, the then Deputy Minister for Social Services, in December 2013 to provide independent, expert advice on our Sustainable Social Services agenda.
Chaired by Sally Ellis, the group has produced significant pieces of work.
Its first report came in December 2014. That dealt with the transition to Social Care Wales (SCW) from April 2017 (subject to the successful passage of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill through the National Assembly). In March this year, I was pleased to publish that report alongside a Written Statement in response to accepting the direction of travel it set out.
Following that report I asked the group to further test the service improvement priorities that they had previously identified, with a wide range of stakeholders from across the social services sector and beyond. I also asked for advice on how SCW might adopt models of prevention and early intervention in its work. The work of the group has concluded with the reports that I am publishing today, alongside this statement. The reports can be found on the Welsh Government's website.
I very much welcome the advice prepared by SISG which will be used to inform the next phase of development towards Social Care Wales. I support the direction set out in the papers. I am keen for citizen engagement to be at the heart of SCW and to support activities around mapping improvement and sharing experiences and practice across the sector. The early intervention and outcomes papers reflect a great deal of work the Welsh Government is currently delivering, and I will ensure linkages are made with this advice as appropriate.
Earlier this year I informed members of the establishment of the Transition to Social Care Wales Advisory Panel. Chaired by Arwel Ellis Owen and made up of key stakeholders from across the sector, the panel will produce a transition and communications plan for my consideration by March next year. Currently the group is exploring issues around governance, service improvement and research. I will provide Members with a more detailed update on the work of the panel in the future.
SISG has now concluded its work. I wish to thank group members for their diligence and hard work.