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New law to reform regulation and inspection of social care in Wales passed

A new law reforming the way Wales’ care and support services are regulated and inspected has been approved by Assembly Members.

The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill reframes accountability so owners of services can be held to account for failings in care. It also gives Welsh Ministers the power to remove not just bad services but also bad providers.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“This new law means our regulation of social care will become a key driver of improvement in Wales. Ultimately, it will mean better social care in Wales. Where services don’t come up to scratch it will mean people will be able to see action being taken by regulators.

“I am particularly pleased that our social care system will now be judged firstly and foremost by what is does for people. This law will ensure that everyone will know how good services are and where improvements are needed.”

The Bill also reflects recommendations arising from the Flynn Review, including the introduction of a fit and proper person test for both service providers and responsible individuals.

The Minister said:

“I am grateful to Dr Margaret Flynn and her work on the issues arising from Operation Jasmine. The introduction of a fit and proper person test for both service providers and responsible individuals has placed appropriate accountability at the heart of future regulation.”

In addition, the new law will:

  • place new requirements on the social care sector to plan for the future
  • ensure citizens have new and accurate information about care in Wales
  • require regulators to work together for the wellbeing of people in Wales
  • pave the way for the transition to Social Care Wales – a new powerful leader for change
  • place regulation as a key driver to improve outcomes for people in Wales.​

It is envisaged the Bill will receive Royal Assent in January 2016. There will then be a staged implementation starting in April 2017.

The Minister added:

“I’m very pleased this important new law has been passed by the Assembly. It will deliver a new, effective system of regulation for Wales’ care and support services.

“I’m pleased to have been able to work with other parties in the Assembly to strengthen the Bill in a number of areas.”

Following the passing of the Bill, the Minister said there will be new opportunities to improve social care.

The Minister said:

“This Bill allows us to respond effectively to new emerging challenges. For example, I have recently commissioned research from Manchester Metropolitan University about zero hours and other conditions for domiciliary care workers. If concerns about the impact of zero hour contracts on quality of care are borne out in this research, I will consider using the regulation-making power in this new law to impose requirements on service providers about how such contracts should be used in the social care sector.

“Similarly, it will allow the government to deliver on its commitment to require registration of workers in social care in due course, improving public confidence in our system and extending the skills of social care staff on who so many depend.

“That’s the strength of this new law – it gives us the powers to shape a truly Welsh social care system fit for our needs and our citizens.”

Further information on the Bill is available at:

http://gov.wales/legislation/programme/assemblybills/regulation-and-inspection-social-care/?lang=en

Channel website: http://gov.wales

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