New vision for better quality of life for vulnerable people in Wales

A new partnership is aiming to improve the quality of life for vulnerable people across Wales.

The influential Forum, which brings together the key players of social care in Wales together, has been welcomed by independent providers as “a major step forward”.

Launched by Gwenda Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Social Services, the Partnership Forum includes the Chairs of the Care Council for Wales, Children in Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the Welsh Local Government Association and Care Forum Wales.

It was set up following the publication last February of Sustainable Social Services for Wales: a Framework for Action, the Welsh Government’s vision for social services.

According to Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, which represents the independent sector of Wales on the Forum, the creation of the Forum was an extremely positive development.

He said: “Now is the time for Wales to be very confident about how it is going to deliver the very best social care services to our people.

“The independent sector  can  bring a wealth of experience into our detailed discussions about reconfiguring our social services.

“Most of the social services in Wales are provided by the independent sector working in partnership with the public sector.

“We need to make sure that those public services provided by the independent sector are fully integrated and that they are delivered within a public services ethos.

“The challenge is to make this people-centred approach a reality. The real trick in this is to ensure stability of the social care sector while we’re moving in that transition at a time of diminishing budgets.

“What we’ve got to do is be confident that we can come through that and we need our colleagues in the Welsh Local Government’s Association to work with us.

“We have to  develop a new relationship with local government. At the moment that relationship isn’t good enough to deliver the services to vulnerable people.

“It is therefore our responsibility to work with our colleagues in local government to make sure we can do much better in the future.

“The perception of social services needs to change. Rather than being a drain on the state they should be seen as force for economic good.

“They keep people in work, they stimulate economic activity. In fact, social services account for six per cent of the total workforce in Wales.”

“The challenge Care forum Wales will rise to is to work with everybody that’s prepared to make this a reality, and the challenge to our partners is to do the same.””    

Mrs Thomas said: “Our distinctive Welsh vision is for social services that are sustainable, high- quality, responsive and have the public at heart. I can’t deliver that ambitious agenda alone – we need a genuine collaborative approach across Wales.”

“We will only deliver this innovative agenda if we recognise that the people who use these services must be the ones driving it forward.

“I want users and carers to be involved at all levels of the service so that we get this right. From their personal care to the strategies discussed at this forum, users must have a voice and real control.”

“My challenge to this Forum is to make this people-centred approach a reality.”

 “Delivery is about changing people’s lives for the better. I have asked this forum to establish a meaningful way to know if we are doing that. Not fine words, but hard facts on the ground. I want a framework for real life outcomes that tells us whether people are getting a better service or not.”

“These challenges are for all of us in social services in Wales – for every care home worker, every social worker, for every manager and, of course, for me as Deputy Minister. Social Services in Wales are changing – today is a major step forward to deliver.”

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