‘World-Class’ Social Service Plan For Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government has promised to deliver “world-class” social services for Wales as it reveals its 10-year plan to drive up standards. It aims to complement the government’s 10-year Designed for Life health plan which was announced last year. The number of people currently using social services has risen by 50% over the past five years to 150,000. The strategy, called Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities, aims to help more people remain living in their homes.

The strategy states: “Social services are not yet at the standard with which we can all be satisfied. They must improve and do so at a greater pace in the future.”

Demand for many services is expected to increase but lots of staff posts remain unfilled, budgets are under pressure and standards are too variable.

The assembly government is to consult on five key issues in the draft strategy. They include a higher profile for services, “coherent services” offering continuity of care and a greater focus on early prevention.

The draft strategy also aims for local authorities to commission and provide services but shape a “mixed market” of public, private and voluntary care.

Dr Gibbons said: “Modernising social services in Wales is key to providing accessible personalised care for users. Social services need to focus more on prevention by intervening at an earlier stage to help families and retain people’s independence. This personal support needs to link with wider community strategies which underpin this approach.”

The Welsh Local Government Association said it would provide constructive input into the consultation process.