There are a number of policies in Wales that have a direct bearing on carers, their rights and the support that they and their relative can and should receive. The national policies listed below are currently the most significant, and impact on carers rights within Social Care, Healthcare and the workplace.
In addition to these national policies there will be local strategies within each Local Authority area. You can contact your local Social Services team for a copy of their local carer and learning disability strategies. You can also contact your Local Health Board for a copy of their Health and Social Care Strategies and carer statements.
It is essential that carers are aware of policies that affect them, as these can be of huge support during any discussions in changes to support, commissioning of new services etc.
Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill
On the 28th January 2013 the Welsh Government introduced the draft Social Services and Wellbeing
(Wales) Bill to the National Assembly for Wales for consideration and further scrutiny.
The principles behind the Bill are to:
- Develop sustainable social services in Wales
- Give the people who use social services, including carers, a strong voice and real control over the services they may receive by focussing on the personal outcomes that people wish to achieve
- Enable earlier intervention and prevention for carers and for people who need care and support in order to improve their well-being.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill has reached its final stage with two days of scrutiny at the Senedd on 4th and 11th February. The principles of the new Bill offer a valuable opportunity to consolidate and strengthen the legislation relating to carers in Wales.
The Bill as it stands will repeal all existing carers’ legislation;
- the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995
- the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000
- the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 and
- the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010.
For more information you see the briefing notes produced by Carers Wales:
Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010
From the 1st January 2012 The Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure came into force. The measure places a statutory duty on the ‘designated authority’ or two or more ‘designated authorities’ to prepare, publish and implement a strategy for the benefit of unpaid carers and which should :
- set out how information and guidance will be provided to carers, that will assist them in carrying out their caring role effectively; and
- set out how carers will be consulted and involved in decisions affecting them and those they care for.
Local Health Boards are designated as the ‘lead authority’ in the Regulations. They are required to lead the work to develop and implement the Strategies, working in partnership with Social Services. The Regulations clearly define and prescribe the range of duties placed on ‘designated authorities’
‘Designated Authorities’ are Local Health Boards, Velindre NHS Trust, the Welsh Ambulance Trust and Social Services.
Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004
An Act that places duties on local authorities and health bodies in respect of carers; and for connected purposes.
The Act requires assessments to be offered to carers, to consider the needs of carers in relation to leisure, education, training and work.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/15/notes/contents external link to explanatory notes for the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004
Summary of the Welsh Government’s Direct Payments Guidance 2011
Direct payments enable individuals to purchase assistance or services that local authorities (LAs) would otherwise provide. They give individuals control providing an alternative to social care services provided by a LA. This helps to increase opportunities for independence, social inclusion and enhanced self-esteem.
Direct payments can be made to a willing and appropriate suitable person who receives and manages direct payments on behalf of a person who lacks capacity. In most cases this will be a family member, or a close friend already involved in the care of the service user.
Together for Health
A five year vision for the NHS in Wales.
http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dhss/publications/111101togetheren.pdf external link to the vision
The links below provide some additional information on Carers rights which family carers may find useful.
Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014
Social Care Legislation in Wales- Information and Learning Hub
Your Rights, Direct Payments and the Act