The Welsh Government published the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill in January 2013. It proposes a single law for care and support to replace the existing complex legislation.

NAS Cymru has broadly welcomed the Bill. In particular we believe that by including children and adults within the scope of the Bill, this presents an opportunity to ensure effective transition and to better meet the needs of people with autism in Wales. You can read our response to the Bill here.

Since the publication of the Bill, NAS Cymru has been working with the Welsh Government, Assembly Members and other stakeholders to provide amendments in order to strengthen the Bill in some specific areas. These include:

  • Preventative measures
    The Bill puts a duty on local councils to develop care and support that will help prevent needs from escalating. NAS Cymru is seeking to ensure that access to this type of support will include services such as befriending, social skills training and short breaks, which can be very successful and cost effective in supporting people with autism and their families.
  • Eligibility criteria
    NAS Cymru supports the proposals in the Bill aimed at ensuring that people can get the same level of support no matter where they live, through the national eligibility criteria for adult social care. We will work to ensure that the new criteria takes into account the specific needs of people with autism, so that they can access the help they need.
  • Data
    From our work with local authorities we know that there is a lack of clear and consistent data collected on the needs of people with autism in social care, which makes it hard for local authorities to plan for the development of services. A clear way to address this is to develop a Disability Register to cover all people with a disability in Wales. We will work to ensure that this is included in the Bill.

Social Services and Well-being Advisory Group

NAS Cymru is part of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill Health and Social Care Committee Advisory Group. The group includes members of voluntary groups and charities from across Wales. Its aim is to provide advice to the Health and Social Care Committee as it scrutinizes the proposed legislation and collects evidence from stakeholders.

The Committee’s Stage 1 report was published in July and can be found here.

Next steps

The Committee’s Stage 1 report will be debated at the National Assembly in the autumn. Following that, Assembly Members will propose amendments to the Bill for the Health and Social Care Committee’s consideration.

If you have any comments about the priority areas we have identified above, please email policywales@nas.org.uk.