Our partnership working, political and corporate leadership, governance and accountability
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force in April 2016. It provides the legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support, and carers who need support, and for transforming social services in Wales. The fundamental principles of the Act are:
The associated Code of Practice sets out a framework for measuring the progress that local authorities make against their duties under the Act as a whole. This process also enables us to continuously improve services. As required by the Code of Practice, we have arrangements in place to collect and return data on statutory performance measures to Welsh Government on an annual basis. Measuring performance activity is carried out in line with each of the quality standards which focus on people, prevention, partnerships, and integration and well-being.
Conwy has governance arrangements in place to support the effective management of Social Care. The Council has implemented a Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and has appointed two Portfolio Holders to represent Children, Families and Safeguarding, and Integrated Adult and Community Services. We submit various reports to Scrutiny Committee for review and challenge and have a robust internal process for performance oversight and challenge. Meetings are held with our inspectorate throughout the year and we routinely and actively review our own practice to ensure continuous service improvement.
The Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 outlines a set of national outcomes and places a duty on public bodies to put sustainable development at the heart of decisions. This Act ensures that the environment, social, and economic considerations are central to decision-making.
In Conwy we incorporate these objectives into our new Corporate Plan which will run from 2022 until 2027. It sets out our ambitions to make a difference for the people of Conwy over the next five years, in order to meet our long term citizen outcomes.
As a service we reflect how we are contributing to these priorities through our six-monthly Service Performance Review process.
The Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 and Code of Practice set out a framework for measuring the progress that local authorities make against their duties under the Act as a whole. This process also enables local authorities to continuously improve services. As required by the Code of Practice, we have robust arrangements in place to collect and return data on statutory performance measures to Welsh Government on an annual basis. Measuring performance activity is done in line with each of the quality standards which focuses on people, partnershipand integration, and prevention.
Conwy has robust governance arrangements in place to support the effective management of Social Care. The Council has implemented a Social Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Council has appointed two Portfolio Holders who represent Children and Family Social Care and Adult Social Services and Leisure. We also submit various reports to Scrutiny Committee for review and challenge. In addition, we have a robust internal process for performance oversight and challenge. Meetings are held with our inspectorate throughout the year and we routinely and actively review our own practice to ensure continuous service improvement.
Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (RISCA) Responsible Individual (RI) Responsibilities Project
The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act places the quality of services and improvement at the heart of regulation. It strengthens protection for those who need it, establishes a regulatory system that is in line with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) act 2014, and creates a regulatory system that is centred on people who need care and support, and the social care workforce.
The associated project is undertaking an option appraisal to recommend permanent organisational changes/arrangements to implement RISCA “Responsible Individual” (RI) duties. This is for current and developing in-house service provision of domiciliary care, fostering and residential placements across Social Care. The RI duties are set out in Care Inspectorate Wales’ statutory RISCA Guidance on meeting service standard regulations. In short, the introduction of the enhanced RI role is a very important development in promoting, monitoring and improving service quality.
What were the challenges?
Through our various projects and service developments to deliver ‘care closer to home’, which includes increasing our local in-house provision of supported living, extra care housing, respite and children’s residential provision, we need to also increase our capability to deliver the duties of the enhanced Responsible Individual roles. This will ensure that we continue to promote continuous promotion, monitoring and improvement of service quality for all existing, in-the-pipeline and future developments across Children’s, Disability and Older People services.
Regional Integration Fund
The Health and Social Care Regional Integration Fund (the RIF) is a five-year fund to deliver a programme of change from April 2022 to March 2027. It builds on the learning and progress made under the previous Integrated Care Fund (ICF) and Transformation Fund (TF) and seeks to create sustainable system change through the integration of health and social care services. The aim by 2027 is to have established and mainstreamed at least six new national models of integrated care so that people in Conwy, and throughout Wales, can be assured of an effective and seamless service experience in relation to:
- Community-based care
- Emotional health and well-being
- Supporting families to stay together safely and supporting care-experienced children
- Home from hospital services
- Accommodation-based solutions
Utilisation of the RIF will closely align to existing legislation and programmes, including the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, the Well-being of Future Generations Act and A Healthier Wales.
In Conwy we have been awarded £3.2 million of funding and we’ll be using it to support 21 different project areas across all our service areas in partnership with Denbighshire County Council, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and the Third Sector. They include:
- Bwthyn y Ddol Children’s Residential Assessment Centre
- Strengthening Families Team
- Local Integrated Family Team
- Conwy Single Point of Access Team
- Community Wellbeing Team
- Disability Support Workers
- Dementia Support Teams
- Community Resource Team
- Work, Live, Do: supporting people with complex disabilities
- Step up, Step down beds to support older people
- Step up, Step down enhanced foster care model
- Third Sector Grants through CVSC
- Third Sector projects supporting children with a disability
Working with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)
Llys Elian residential home
In August 2022 CIW carried out an inspection of Llys Elian Elderly Mentally Ill residential home in Colwyn Bay. The resulting report highlighted that the staff team are happy in their work, enjoy their jobs and are proud to work at the home. They noted that care is unrushed, calm and respectful and activities are varied and arranged daily. Care staff are well trained in the field of dementia care and are supported by a management team which is proactive in seeking ways to improve the service. We were really pleased to hear that there were no recommendations for improvement following this inspection of Llys Elian.
The findings from the CIW inspection were very positive, and were mirrored in the responses to a survey of Llys Elian staff that we undertook in March 2023. Scores and comments confirmed that staff feel supported and appropriately trained to carry out their roles, and as a team they support residents to live fulfilled lives in a safe and respectful environment. All respondents scored Llys Elian highly in terms of performance and many gave examples of how this is achieved.
There are many ways in which Llys Elian gets things right. The strength of the management ensures every issue is dealt with speedily. The way they care about individuals and their staff has led to [my] five star rating. The residents going to sit in the office for a chat with them says it all.
I think staff at Llys Elian do an amazing job at supporting residents to make their own choices.
A similar survey was sent to colleagues in the Council and Health Board to gain their perspective of working with the Llys Elian team. They too agreed that the residential home provides an excellent level of service to its residents, going “over and above to cater to everyone’s individual needs”. All agreed that residents’ privacy and dignity is respected, they are protected from abuse and neglect, and the management team provide correct and timely information to stakeholders.
I have never seen a home like it, it’s amazing in every way. The environment is home from home and comfortable.
We are currently preparing for a CIW thematic review of care planning and support within our Children, Families and Safeguarding Service. The review will measure progress and quality of practice in relation to care and support planning for children and young people subject to the Public Law Outline pre-proceedings.
Llys Gogarth accommodation for children and young people with disabilities
In June 2022 CIW undertook an inspection of Llys Gogarth in Llandudno which provides accommodation, care and support for children and young people. The inspection report was very positive, observing that:
- The facility supports young people to achieve positive outcomes and make progress.
- Young people are encouraged to make choices, be active and healthy and be independent where possible.
- Care staff are enthusiastic and experienced, and are clear about how to care for the young people they support.
- The close working relationship with the on-site school means young people’s needs are thoroughly assessed prior to admission.
- The premises are welcoming and there is sufficient internal and external space to meet young people’s needs
- Leadership and management provide a high standard of governance and direction for the service, and as a result, young people’s outcome are positive and care staff feel supported.
The full report details areas of good practice, such as multi-agency working, effective safeguarding procedures, well trained staff and management, and a positive culture of putting young people at the centre of everything at the service. No areas of non-compliance were identified at this inspection.
Feedback from staff and stakeholders
In February we asked the staff who work at Llys Gogarth and staff from other CCBC and Health teams for their feedback on the facility, and the quality of the services delivered.
Reflecting the feedback from CIW, the overall responses were very positive. Staff feel that they are sufficiently trained to carry out their job roles, and they receive regular supervision from line managers to discuss their health and wellbeing and caseloads. All staff who completed the survey agreed that, as a team, they:
- listen to the children and young people, and their families, ensuring they have rights and choices
- support children and young people to develop and support their health and wellbeing
- support children and young people to stay safe and protect them from abuse and neglect
All respondents rated the service at Llys Gogarth four or five out five, and the supporting comments show how highly the staff regard their colleagues and environment. There is a sense that Llys Gogarth is well on the road to recovery, post-Covid, and there is a renewed opportunity to improve and develop the service further as a team.
We are all enthusiastic about our jobs and really have a passion for the children in our care. We strive to give them 100% all the time.
[The children and young people] have good healthy meals…….they go for lovely walks and participate in after-school activities.
Stakeholders from the Disability Under 25 Team and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board unanimously agreed that Llys Gogarth:
- listens to the young people they support, enabling them to make choices about the care and support they receive and the opportunities available to them
- responds in a timely manner when stakeholders contact them with an enquiry
- responds promptly when concerns are raised about young people who access the service
- supports young people to stay happy and healthy
- supports young people to protect themselves and stay safe from abuse and neglect
- is flexible and adaptable in order to meet the needs of the young people they’re supporting
- provides a safe and suitable environment for children and young people who use the service
- treats the children and young people with dignity and respect
- employs staff who are professional and approachable with any concerns or queries
44% rated Llys Gogarth as very good at meeting the outcomes for young people and 56% rated it as good.
I feel strongly that Llys Gogarth listen and enable the young people in their care to [have] their say on how they are cared for. They also provide the young people with a say in the type of activities they would like to access.
More Than Just Words: Delivering the ‘Active Offer’
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure introduced by the Welsh Government in 2011 became law and this gave the language official status and underpins the More Than Just Words Framework.
The Mwy Na Geiriau / More Than Just Words Framework is a five-year plan from 2022 to 2027. The framework emphasises that Welsh belongs to us all and we recognise the concept of language need. Receiving services in Welsh, especially when we are at our most vulnerable should be an integral component of person-centred care. Professional standards in health and social care services note that effective communication is a key requirement, highlighting the need to maintain dignity and respect. Adoption and delivery of More Than Just Words should therefore help improve the quality of care for individuals living in a bilingual country.
The overall vision of the framework: “More Than Just Words is for Cymraeg to belong and be embedded in health and social care services across Wales so that individuals receive care that meets their language needs, leading to better outcomes, without having to ask for it. All workers in health and social care services will appreciate they have an active part to play in realising this vision”.
The framework sets out how together we will drive forward progress under the overarching themes of Welsh language planning, supporting and developing Welsh language skills within the current and future workforce, and sharing best practice and an enabling approach.
A steering group has been established for the preparation of the launch of the framework and will assess the social care position against seven key objectives, some of which include promotion and engagements and Welsh in the workplace.
What were the challenges?
The challenge was to ensure that whole workforce, including commissioned services, has the opportunity to shape our action plan.
We will continue to implement the five-year plan of Mwy Na Geiriau. Our aim is that our action plan continues to evolve and is owned by services and the workforce.
North Wales Population Assessment
The North Wales Population Assessment report is an assessment of the care and support needs of the population in North Wales, including the support needs of carers. It aims to improve our understanding of our population and how it might change over the coming years to help us provide better public services in the area. Created by the North Wales Social Care and Wellbeing Services Improvement Collaborative, they review statistics, speak with communities and make use of a wide range of information collected by local councils, health services, charities and other organisations that provide services.
The report covers children and young people, older people, health and physical disability, learning disability, autism, mental health, unpaid carers, and other groups, providing key messages and recommendations around each topic based on the evidence gathered.
North Wales Market Stability Report
The North Wales Market Stability Report (2022) includes information about the availability of care and support across the region and recommends ways to make sure enough support is available in future. This includes care homes, domiciliary (home) care, children’s homes, fostering, adoption, advocacy, and support for unpaid carers.
North Wales Regional Partnership Board
Part 9 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 requires local authorities to make arrangements to promote cooperation with their partners and others, in relation to adults with needs for care and support, carers and children. Its purpose is to improve outcomes and the well-being of people, as well as improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. The key aims of cooperation, partnership and integration can therefore be described as follows:
- Improve care and support, ensuring people have more say and control
- Improve outcomes and health and wellbeing
- Provide coordinated, person-centred care and support
- Make more effective use of resources, skills and expertise
Local Authorities and Local Health Boards are required to establish Regional Partnership Boards to manage and develop services, to secure strategic planning and partnership working between Local Authorities and Local Health Boards, and to ensure effective services, care and support are in place to best meet the needs of their respective populations. The North Wales Regional Partnership Board (NWRPB) aims to ‘work together to improve the wellbeing of people and communities’ in the area, and is comprised of colleagues from local authorities, emergency services, the Health Board, and Third Sector organisations. You can find out more about the work of the NWRPB here.
Placement Commissioning Strategy for Children who are Looked After
In 2022 we created a strategy to set out how we will provide sufficient, quality placements to meet the individual and diverse needs of children in our care. Over the next five years we aim to reduce our dependency on commissioning independent placements, and instead invest a percentage of the money we save into increasing the number of in-house and local resources. This will benefit children who are looked after by keeping them in their local area, accommodating them appropriately, and linking them with carers who can meet their needs, particularly during the transition to adulthood.
We aim to reduce the number of children in Conwy who are looked after, and in line with the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government 2022-2027, remove profit from the care of looked after children. In Conwy our agreed approach is to:
- Shape our internal services to maximise the benefits of public sector provision in terms of quality, value for money and care plan implementation and monitoring.
- Work in collaboration with public sector partners across the region, where this offers identifiable benefits.
- Increase the number and choice of placements to ensure that there are always options to suit the needs of children.
- Co-produce outcome-focused services, acknowledging that there are a range of different methods for strategic commissioning with multiple partners, who may be co-operatives, charities or commercial partners.
The desired overarching outcome of this strategy is to achieve improved outcomes for the children who are looked after by Conwy, and to achieve best practice delivery of our Corporate Parenting functions, with children placed in high quality and value-for-money placements, which safeguard and promote their wellbeing, build resilience and enable and develop positive relationships.
- Children should be included in decision-making and not confused by it
- Periods of accommodation should be a positive experience for children
- Children should not be disadvantaged due to being looked after
- Children should leave care with the same opportunities as the general population
The overarching intention and principle of the strategy is to develop a sufficiency of placement resources to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child. Placement choice and matching are fundamental to achieving this aim.
No Wrong Door
The Children’s Commissioner has created the No Wrong Door approach for children, young people and their families in navigating what is perceived as a complex system when seeking support. The Commissioner believes that services should wrap around families and offer early help to prevent escalation into services. Within Children’s Services in Conwy we have created our vision on the principles of the No Wrong Door approach. This will be a collaborative approach, working with partners to progress the implementation of the North Wales “No Wrong Door” strategy.
Each integrated Children’s Area Sub Group is putting together a proposed plan of work which could include expansion of existing projects or identification of new projects to ensure there are effective single-access arrangements and hubs working together in local areas, supporting a child and young person’s journey to services.
We are soon to be holding our first workshop to share experiences of how children, and young people engage and interact with services, and the organisations that support children and young people.
Managing the budget and planning for the future
The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) sets out the Council’s strategic approach to the management of its finances and outlines some of the financial issues that will face the Council over the next four years. The delivery of the strategy is dependent on the resources made available through Welsh Government (WG) settlements and on the success of the Council in aligning resources to its aims and priorities.
In 2022-23, the outturn for Social Services is projected to be overspent by £3,097,831. For 2022-23, Social Services has, via the business case process, applied for, and been awarded, additional funding for anticipated increased cost pressures relating to Care Fees (£2,730k), Domiciliary Care (£2,070k), Direct Payments (£285k) Supported Living (£620k) and Looked After Children (£2,990k). The department has also had to identify budget savings of £1,919k.
Social Care Employment Pathway
WeCareWales.Conwy (employment support service) continues to promote Social Care as a career path of choice. Hosting monthly virtual job fairs, each event focuses on the skills and knowledge required for Social Care and the roles available within the sector. Participants meet our Community Employment Mentor and hear about the support they can offer to individuals working in Social Care.
This approach has been successful in supporting individuals through the employment process. Participants have welcomed the one-to-one support of the mentor, who tailors support according to the needs of the participant. We’ve received some positive feedback from participants:
Having met my Employment Mentor over a period of a few weeks she helped and guided me to a successful application within the Disability Team, from filling out the application, mock interviews and constant ongoing support. I can’t thank her enough, she is always at the end of the phone with support and guidance.
I found the whole process of applying for a new job lot less daunting with the way I was helped and supported. After deciding to apply, my Employment Mentor helped me with my application with suggestions and best information to highlight my strengths and abilities in my own care role which helped me a lot. It’s the small things that helped as well – such as a good luck message for my interview and a well done when I had been offered the position.
I realise after talking to you that my application form is nowhere near detailed enough and is too informal. The advice you have given me has been honest and has been invaluable, I think I can nail this with your help.