Welcoming the new President of ADSS Cymru
This April, we welcomed our new ADSS Cymru President, Jenny Williams, who is Director of Social Services at Conwy County Borough Council.
In this latest issue of InFocus, Jenny discusses her priorities for the coming year as President. This is followed by immediate past President, Dave Street's roundup of his year in the role.
I would first like to thank Dave for his leadership of ADSS Cymru over the last year – there has been some real progress made towards raising the profile of social services and highlighting the challenges we face in delivering care and support to Wales, and I also thank my colleagues for their involvement in this.
I’m looking forward to taking up the role of President, and continuing our agenda to be at the forefront of driving social care transformation. Key areas of focus over the coming year will be to take forward the findings of the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care, demonstrating active leadership in the development of the long-term plan and ensuring that we are on an equal footing with partners in the health and voluntary sectors in the seamless delivery of care. Further goals for the year include:
I will also be working to ensure that we are inclusive and accessible as an organisation, engaging a wider membership to participate in the work of ADSS Cymru and take up opportunities to impact on the sector. I’m excited that our new look National Social Care Conference in September is being hosted jointly with Social Care Wales, which will also enable us to engage practitioners and share our work and experiences more broadly across the sector.
- working with colleagues to better understand and communicate the pressures in the system for children’s services;
- sharing our successes and improvement to promote the social care sector;
- promoting the Welsh language and embedding its use across the sector;
- continuing to ensure that social care professionals have a collective voice on key issues in Wales.
It feels a little surreal to already be looking back at 12 months as President of ADSS Cymru.
The early part of the year was taken up with meetings with key partners including Welsh Government, CIW, Social Care Wales and Welsh NHS Confed, all of which have helped as the year progressed.
The National Social Services Conference in June was understandably a focus in the few months leading up to the event, and standing on that stage in June was every bit as nerve-wracking as I expected. Nonetheless, it was a privilege to preside over such a successful and positive event that challenges and moves the sector forward. It must also be said that there were numerous other occasions during the year where I was pushed / dragged out of my comfort zone:
- There have been several opportunities to give evidence at Welsh Government Committees, something that is crucial if we are going to get the social care voice heard more strongly;
- Fortnightly DTOC calls on a Monday morning were never the ideal way to start the week but the improvements we saw in 2017 demonstrated how seriously the sector took the issue and sought to support Welsh Government whenever possible;
- An opportunity to be involved in recruiting Health Board chairs gave an insight into the public appointments system.
As in any year there were several key issues that seemed to dominate the agenda:
- Pooled Funds has been particularly problematic but we appear to have reached a position where all regions have plans in place for the forthcoming year;
- Funded Nursing Care has proved complex but we are on the verge of a solution to a problem that’s been around for a long time;
- Over the past month the Parliamentary Review has dominated discussions and no doubt will continue to challenge us through the early part of the new financial year. It is crucial that we participate on an equal footing with other partners if we want leverage over the way forward.
- Clearly the financial position of social care has never been far away and we’ll need to use the outcome of the ADSS Cymru budget survey to continue to lobby Welsh Government.
Whilst there have been challenges, there have also been some real positives:
The new Minister has been very receptive to ADSS Cymru and this is clearly a relationship we’ll want to build on. His public backing for social services through the difficult winter months has been particularly welcome.
The Business unit has seen some changes in personnel and the new team led by Jonathan Morgan mean we are increasingly on the front foot in changing the way we do business. The strategic plan, regular newsletters and incorporation proposals means we filled some of the gaps that may have been around for a while. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Jon and the team for all their help through the year.
Finally, I’d like to thank the Directors and Heads of Service for their support over the past year and would ask that you offer Jenny the same support.
So that’s me done. In many ways I’ll be sad to give up the Presidency but when you are on first name terms with the receptionist at Cathays Park, it really is time to go!
Thanks everyone and good luck Jenny.
Booking is now open for the National Social Care Conference, taking place 12-13 September at the prestigious Royal College of Music and Drama in the heart of Cardiff City Centre.
For the first time, the event (formerly known as the National Social Services Conference) is being jointly organised by ADSS Cymru and Social Care Wales, and is aimed at senior decision makers and leaders in social care, frontline practitioners and researchers.
As well as offering the traditional conference line-up of plenaries, guest speakers workshops and learning opportunities, the conference provides anyone with a responsibility for social care in Wales the chance to share experiences and best practice, and learn about new and future developments taking place in the sector.
President of ADSS Cymru, Jenny Williams commented, “The National Social Care Conference is a unique opportunity to engage with colleagues and partners from across the social care sector in order to learn from each other and to drive the sector forward. Our line-up of speakers and workshops offer a wider perspective on social care, beyond Wales, that will hopefully inspire much discussion and debate on addressing the issues that affect our services.
"We’re pleased that our partnership this year with Social Care Wales has allowed us to widen the participation in this event to offer practitioners an opportunity to learn and develop their knowledge and skills.”
CEO of Social Care Wales, Sue Evans added, “We’re pleased to be co-organising the National Social Care Conference in partnership with ADSS Cymru for the first time this year. The conference is an important event in the social care calendar in Wales giving social care professionals at all levels an opportunity to come together to hear from experts, politicians and motivational speakers; share ideas and good practice; and find out about the latest social care news, research and resources.
“We hope this year’s conference will have something for everyone with plenaries, talks, workshops and learning sessions around our core themes of care at home, dementia, children who are looked after and workforce issues. We’ve also recognised that not everyone is able to attend the full two-day conference, so to make it more accessible we’re making half-day tickets available that provide access to the learning sessions and exhibitor hall rather than the full conference. I’m very much looking forward to this year’s conference and I hope to see you in September.”
Putting the Act into practice: Learning and development for story-telling animals
Nick Andrews and Bec Cicero
As human beings, we are story-telling animals who use narrative and dialogue to make sense of the world and engage with one another. It is therefore not surprising to hear that storytelling approaches to learning and development can prove more effective than tick box training or ‘death by Powerpoint’.
Over the past 12 months, Social Care Wales and the Wales School for Social Care Research have been working together to explore evidence-informed and effective way to support social care practitioners and organisations in engaging with the spirit and requirements of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This work is summarised in the recently launched Social Care Research Strategy for Wales 2018-2023.
A central theme is the use of narrative and dialogue-based approaches to learning and development, which is being taken forward in partnership with a range of Local Authorities, third sector organisations and community organisations through the Developing Evidence-Enriched Practice (DEEP) programme and a Storytelling Research and Practice Development Group. This work includes co-production approaches to community based prevention and well-being as well as social care service development. People have been experimenting with a number of different approaches to learning and development using stories, which include the following:
Over the next twelve months, we’ll be working on resources to help you as a sector gather stories and use them for your own learning and improvement. We’ll be developing a space where you can find the resources and see what else is happening across Wales and would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
- Experience Based Co-Design – a bottom-up approach to quality, learning and development based on capturing and sharing stories from service users, carers and staff
- Community of Enquiry – a structured approach to help people with different backgrounds and perspectives to talk a learn together and co-produce
- Most Significant Change technique – a storytelling approach to monitoring and evaluation that focuses on learning not just performance.
View the current resources on the Social Care Wales Information and Learning Hub - further resources will be added soon.
If you would like further details of this work, please contact either of the following:
Bec Cicero, Social Care Wales - Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Andrews, Wales School for Social Care Research – email@example.com
Parliamentary Review under discussion at the ADSS Cymru Spring Seminar
The recent ADSS Cymru Spring Seminar in Wrexham saw members of ADSS Cymru participate in sharing ideas on taking forward the recommendations of the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care.
Professor Keith Moultrie, a member of the Parliamentary Review Panel, shared his reflections on the review, and facilitated a discussion with ADSS Cymru colleagues on the implications and the response that might be needed from the social care sector.
Following an overview of the key recommendations, Keith suggested some key themes from the report:
The next stage of progress will be Welsh Government's release of a national strategy and plan, with £100 million being allocated over two years to support a joined up approach. Last week plans for how the first £50 million will be spent was announced by Welsh Government.
- The models and the case for change are not new, but they haven’t been delivered sufficiently.
- It’s not about restructuring, it’s about seamless services centred around the citizen.
- It needs a joined up approach to transformation at national, regional and local level.
- It needs a joined-up approach to transformation across NHS, local government, the voluntary and private sectors.
- It is all about effective implementation, not further rethinking.
Opinon piece - More of the same, or a recipe for real change?
Stewart Greenwell and Dr Danny Antebi
Following the publication of the Parliamentary Review, past ADSS Cymru President and Director of Social Services with Newport City Council, Stewart Greenwell, along with former consultant psychiatrist and director of mental health and learning disabilities in Gwent, Dr. Danny Antebi have published an opinion piece, which is available to read now via the Institute of Welsh Affairs
All Wales Adults Service Heads (AWASH): A New Dawn for Accountability
Alwyn Jones, Chair of AWASH
What five letter acronym is an Act which will change the regulation and inspection of social care in Wales , and place service quality and improvement at the heart of regulation, supports providers to deliver high-quality care and support, and coincidentally rhymes with electronica, tuba and cougar? The answer is simple RISCA.
As Commissioners of care, and in many counties as large providers of care the Act has far ranging implications for Local Authorities.
At a recent All Wales Adult Service Heads Meeting we were kindly joined by Sarah Cullen from Care Inspectorate Wales who provided us with an overview of progress, steps that will be taken in the next few months and work that will follow.
During the summer of 2018 all nursing and residential homes and domiciliary care providers will need to re-register their service. These services will also be required to designate Responsible Individuals under the new Act. It is the heightened accountability of this role and the support provided to those within these roles that is fundamental to the success of the Act. The ability of individuals within these roles to act rapidly to address service concerns, access resources and oversee the quality of care and facilities that is essential in improving services to the public.
The changes will additionally ensure that the public have access to more information about the services they use so that they can compare and make informed choices about care.
In this era of change for our provider services, the independent sector and the voluntary sector it is essential that we do all we can to match our commissioning intentions with resources in the form of sustainable care fees for our providers.
At present there are a number of national workstreams aiming to engage with partners to strengthen our models. Heightened engagement with the sector requires “give and take” from both partners (commissioners and providers) with fee models needing to be based on evidenced costs of delivery reflecting the different nature of providers. Some are small and struggle to generate significant economies of scale, while others are larger business’ operating within a different model of ownership.
Let us challenge ourselves in 2018/19 to achieve fee models which agree the essential elements of cost, the openness required to understand the different nature of providers and specifications which let providers know what we wish to purchase.
Moving in this direction will provide us with providers who are both held accountable for their services, but moreover are supported financially to deliver those services.
News from the Workforce Leadership Group
Jonathan Griffiths, Lead Director
As of April, I am very pleased to have taken up the responsibility for the workforce leadership group for ADSS Cymru and am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities this will involve.
Can I thank Sue Darnbrook for her work in this role over the last few years and it was pleasing to be present at a recent meeting when colleagues were able to thank her personally for her endeavours to date.
I am the Director of Social Services at Pembrokeshire County Council, taking up that role in December 2016. My experience prior to joining Pembrokeshire was within Local Authorities in the former Gwent area. What I have seen across areas of Wales is that workforce issues are so crucial to the effective delivery of assessment, care and support across the social care and health sector. Similar challenges are faced to recruiting, retaining developing and sustaining the workforce, which was a clear outcome of the recent published Parliamentary Review on health and social care in Wales.
I am looking forward to playing my part with colleagues across Wales to tackle issues detailed in the ADSS Strategic Plan relating to:
- workforce planning and development
- training and qualification frameworks
- recruitment, retention and careers initiatives
- ADSS Cymru representation and links with national regulatory and training bodies.
I will provide updates with further information on next steps for the workforce leadership group following a period of review of the current arrangements for delivery of this key work stream.
News from the Safeguarding Leadership Group
Susan Cooper, Lead Director
National Independent Safeguarding Board
At the end of March 2018, the National Independent Safeguarding Board hosted a Summit, Making Safeguarding Count. It featured in the National Board’s work plan because, whether or not you are familiar with safeguarding, you are likely to have seen the media coverage it attracts when individuals die and/or services are deemed harmful. Also, the variety and intricacy of safeguarding arrangements tend to be reduced to referral information, the numbers of trained staff and compliance with procedures. The contributors included individuals for whom the topic was not central to their working lives, as well as “the usual suspects.” The Regional Safeguarding Boards will be invited to test, modify and develop these ideas.
The National Board’s work plan has a strong sense of continuity with its previous work programme - which gave significance to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and to the best understanding of the National Board’s members. The 2018-2019 work plan has faith in hopeful ideas and fresh approaches. It has a long-term perspective and gives emphasis to the importance of ways of communicating to better serve the twin goals of:
Of particular note is the task of learning from wide-ranging safeguarding practices and reviews. The National Board is investing in scrutinising reviews as well as exploring the potential of “machine learning” that is, using computer systems that can learn from and make data-driven decisions by looking at patterns and trends.
- preventing children and adults from becoming at risk of abuse, neglect and harm, and
- protecting children and adults who are at risk of abuse, neglect or other kinds of harm.
There are many people deeply engaged in the common efforts of prevention and protection from harm and the National Board envisages that its work programme will complement their work.
Members of the NISB are Margaret Flynn, Keith Towler, Simon Burch, Ruth Henke, Jan Pickles and Rachel Shaw.
Developing a national approach to safeguarding training
In December 2017 a range of partners from regional safeguarding boards, National Independent Safeguarding Board, training managers, ADSS Cymru and Social Care Wales came together to consider our current approaches to safeguarding training and opportunities for development.
There is a consensus view that we need to improve the consistency of safeguarding training in Wales to both improve quality and efficiency in delivery.
To progress this, three potential areas of work were identified:
It was recognised that any approach needed to be multi agency in nature, and so prior to commencing any work there needed to be a strategic partnership approach including across education, social care, health, police, probation across all parts of Wales.
- a national training framework for safeguarding
- a shared list of quality assured safeguarding trainers
- a shared pool of safeguarding training resources
Social Care Wales is now working with partners, including ADSS Cymru Safeguarding Policy Group, to develop the detail and agree what aspects might be achieved in the new financial year.
Self-Assessment Toolkit for Regional Safeguarding Boards
Welsh Government has commissioned the production of a Self-Assessment Toolkit for Regional Safeguarding Boards for all Boards to assess how well they perform in delivering their responsibilities under the Act. This toolkit will be developed over the next few weeks and it is also intended to support the setting of priorities for the forthcoming 12 months and the development of each Board’s annual report. regional safeguarding board business managers and chairs have been involved and will contribute to its development.
All Wales Safeguarding Procedures Review Project
At the recent Safeguarding Leadership Group meeting in April, Cardiff and the Vale Safeguarding Board gave an update on the progress of the review of the All Wales Policies and Procedures, on which the board is leading.
The group reported that the introduction and first chapter of the Draft Procedures have been developed and will be available for comment in May. Feedback from organisations, groups and individuals will be collated via the Regional Safeguarding Boards and submitted through the All Wales Academy with analysis then being carried out and a final draft put forward to the Project Board in July for approval.
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse - The Truth Project
In April's Safeguarding Leadership meeting, a spokesperson for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was invited to give a presentation on The Truth Project. The project offers victims and survivors of child sexual abuse an opportunity to share their experiences in a confidential and supportive setting. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established to investigate the extent to which institutions and public bodies in England and Wales have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Truth Project aims to give a voice to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, many of whom may have been silenced in the past. They are also able to make suggestions about how to prevent the same abuse happening in the future.
This is a crucial part of the Inquiry’s work: hearing from victims and survivors will allow the Inquiry to understand the nature and scale of child sexual abuse and to hear their suggestions for change. The Truth Project has been designed in consultation with victims and survivors and their needs and wishes take priority. They are offered emotional support before, during and after their Truth Project session, they will not be contradicted or challenged and they are able to disclose as much or as little about their experiences as they feel comfortable with.
The Inquiry would like to hear from as many people as possible - . In order to get in touch with the Truth Project please visit the website www.truthproject.org.uk or call the information line: 0800 917 1000, which is open weekdays 8am-8pm and Saturdays 10am-12pm.
A Roundup from the Delivering Transformation Grant Work Programmes for 2017-18
For the 2017-18 programme the Welsh Government commissioned seven products from ADSS Cymru. The drafts are being finalised and will be available shortly. The products comprise:
The completion of this work has only been possible through the active and willing participation of many stakeholders and ADSS Cymru is very grateful to those individuals and organisations who have contributed their time and expertise to this programme.
- A position paper about building community resilience within the Third Sector. The document is a rich source of ideas which will feed into action plans;
- A position paper on Performance Measure 20 (Rehabilitation). It is generally accepted that the current measure is too restrictive as an indicator of the amount of rehabilitation activity and that there are inconsistences in the way data are collected. The position paper will help to inform the Welsh Government’s wider review of the performance management framework;
- Practice guidance to assist staff to navigate the interface between the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSWBA) and legislation related to Disabled Facilities Grants and other forms of assistance with adaptations. The guidance has also been endorsed by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the All-Wales Heads of Environmental Health;
- Practice guidance to assist staff to navigate the interface between the SSWBA and mental health legislation in Wales.
- A position paper on achieving consistency in interpretation and the application of the SSWBA eligibility criteria. The paper includes findings and recommendations for moving forward;
- A position paper around challenges in the care home and domiciliary care sector including several recommendations for moving forward;
- A report entitled “Ensuring More than Just Words is Effective in Driving the Language of Choice” This provides a robust analysis of the present position and several recommendations to Welsh Government and other organisations to build upon the current position.
The content of a 2018-19 Delivering Transformation Grant programme is currently under consideration by Welsh Government and will be finalised shortly.