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Welsh Government consults on eliminating profit from the care of looked after children

The Welsh Government is currently seeking views on changes to primary legislation that would remove profit from children’s social care, focusing on the private provision of residential care for children, alongside independent sector foster care.

24/08/22

Welsh Government consults on eliminating profit from the care of looked after children

The Welsh Government has proposed changes to legislation that would remove profit from the care of looked after children.

The changes are currently under consultation, which the Welsh Government says will help them to deliver on their “wider vision to redesign how we look after children and young people, so we can do the best for them, their families and communities.”

The initial focus of the proposals will be on the private provision of residential care for children, alongside independent sector foster care, the consultation document says.

In a written statement released alongside the consultation document, Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services, said she was “determined that we continue our efforts to improve the quality of experience for everyone who uses social care services in Wales.”

“As part of our Updated Programme for Government, the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru and ongoing work with the Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian MS, we are committed to working with social partners to eliminate profit from the care of children looked after.”

“The consultation sets out how this will help deliver on our wider vision to redesign how we look after children and young people, so we can do the best for them, their families and communities by providing services that are locally based, locally designed and locally accountable.”

Earlier this year, the Review of Children’s Social Care and a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) study – both looking at the children’s social care market in England – found evidence of a “broken” care market and painted a picture of a sector that is under-resourced to carry out critical tasks to enable children to flourish.

“Prices are high. Limited choice means that the commissioner is often not in a good position to negotiate the best care and support for children. No single local authority can resolve these serious sufficiency issues on their own; indeed, a cross-government approach is required,” the competitions watchdog heard before delivering its final report in May this year.

The Welsh Government consultation is also looking at introducing direct payments for continuing health care; extending mandatory reporting of children and adults at risk; as well as amendments to regulation of service providers, responsible individuals and the social care workforce.

Chapter 3 of the document considers whether the duties to report children and adults at risk of harm, abuse or neglect – within the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 – should be expanded to apply directly to individuals within relevant bodies.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 propose amendments to the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016, with a legislative change to “clarify and improve how Social Care Wales supports and regulates the social care workforce, and how Care Inspectorate Wales undertakes functions relating to the regulation and inspection of ‘regulated services’”. Also proposed is an extension of the definition of a ‘social care worker’ to include all childcare and play workers.

Interested parties can make submissions to the consultation until midnight on 7 November 2022.

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