Carers Trust Wales has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the draft regulations and Code of Practice for the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014, Part 5 and 10. These regulations and the Code have important implications for the support carers receive across Wales including how carers are assessed, what the eligibility criteria is that determines support and how local authorities will ensure that there are necessary services available for carers. You can download our responses to Part 5 – concerning charging and financial assessments for care and support, and Part 10 – concerning advocacy services, below.
Carers Trust Wales argued that:
- Carers Trust Wales welcomes the alignment of charging for residential and non-residential care. Choices about a person’s care and support needs should be focused around what best supports them to meet their well-being outcomes and as such should not be unduly influenced by financial considerations.
- We welcome the clear recognition in the Code of the vital role that carers play in providing care and support.
- We are concerned that the distinction between what is and is not a preventative service is not clear in the Code of Practice or regulations. Some services may at different times be considered preventative or care and support, given the difference this would have on how individuals are charged, this distinction could have a negative impact on the well-being of individuals.
- We believe a flat rate charge for preventative services may disincentivise individuals from accessing the support they need.
- We would welcome greater clarity and nuance on how disability-related expenditure is taken into account – for example, should a carer have a financial assessment, if that carer is paying for private respite care for the person they care for, we believe that should be included as disability-related expenditure.
- We feel that the role of replacement care, and other forms of care that are delivered directly to the person with care needs but intended to support the carer, need greater recognition throughout the Code of Practice for Part 5
- We do not believe Carer’s Allowance and other carer premiums should be included in the calculation of the Minimum Income Amount when carrying out a financial assessment, this would unnecessarily and disproportionately impact carers, particularly those who have care and support needs of their own.
- Carers Trust Wales broadly believes the Code of Practice for Part 10 does identify the people to whom advocacy must be provided. However, we would support the Code being amended to reflect the wording recently agreed on by the Advocacy Technical Group.
- We also believe the Code would be improved and strengthened if it greater reflected the nuances of how carers and those with care and support needs engage with services. For example, a carer may be appropriate to advocate for the person they care for, but in going through a carer’s assessment and having eligibility determined, carers may also require advocacy themselves.
- We believe there should be a requirement for public bodies to ensure that publicity materials for advocacy services are available.
- We would welcome section 13 of the Code including reference to the role of local third sector services, including services aimed at carers, in promoting, publicising and providing advocacy services. Section 13 should require local authorities to engage with local third sector services including those who are providing targeted support specifically to carers.
- We have seen existing local third sector services for carers, including advocacy services, under increasing pressure given the current financial climate. We would welcome a clearer statement in section 17 of the Code on the need for commissioning for quality.
- We also feel it would be beneficial to make an explicit link in the Code to the new duties on local authorities and local health boards to plan services for those with care and support needs. These duties will come into force with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
For more information, contact Kieron Rees.