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1st May 2014

Social Services Wales: Landmark legislation gains Royal Assent

The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act has today (May 1) achieved Royal Assent, with First Minister Carwyn Jones hailing it as, "one of the most significant the Assembly has passed since it acquired full law making powers in 2011."

He added: “There is nothing more important to this Government than protecting our most vulnerable citizens and helping to improve their health and wellbeing. In doing so, we need to provide for the right kind of support when it is needed. This Act will do just that.”

Deputy Social Services Minister, Gwenda Thomas, who led the development and delivery of the Act, said: "It will ensure a strong voice and real control for people, of whatever age, enabling them to maximise their wellbeing. It will set the legal framework and infrastructure to transform services to meet changing social expectations and changing demography."

Ms Thomas added: "These are just part of the once in a generation transformational framework that we have created for social services in Wales."

How will Social Services change in Wales?

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will provide, for the first time, a coherent Welsh legal framework for social services. It will transform the way social services are delivered, promoting people’s independence to give them a stronger voice and more control. It will also encourage a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention.

The Act will:

  • Strengthen powers for the safeguarding of children and adults, so that vulnerable people at risk can be protected more effectively;
    Ensure people are assessed on what they need, rather than just on what services are available locally;
    Introduce portable assessments, which means if people move from one part of Wales to another they will not need to worry about whether they will receive services in their new area;
    Facilitate an increased take up of direct payments to meet people’s care and support needs, meaning people will have more control over how these needs are met;
    Introduce a National Outcomes Framework to set out very clearly what children and adults can expect from social services, to measure achievements and see where improvements are needed;
    Introduce equivalent rights for carers so that people who care for someone such as an elderly or disabled relative or friend would get similar rights to the people they care for; and
    Establish a National Adoption Service to improve the outcomes of children in need of a permanent family.



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