Coronavirus: Social Care in Wales Advice & Support for:
Changes to adult care system in Wales
The Coronavirus Act 2020 contains emergency powers, which could lead to temporary changes in how the social care system works for adults in Wales.
Under the new law, existing duties from the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 on local authorities to assess adults needs for care and support (and adult carers needs for support), and to meet eligible needs, can be temporarily relaxed if they really need to because of the coronavirus outbreak. Local authorities still have a duty to meet needs for care and support where an adult or adult carer may be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.
Why would care change?
These powers have been introduced to help local authorities cope if, due to the coronavirus outbreak, lots more people need urgent support, or there aren’t enough care workers to provide care. They should only be exercised as a last resort ‘where this is essential to maintain the highest possible level of services’.
Local authorities still have a duty to meet needs for care and support where an adult or adult carer may be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.
What could change?
We’ve drawn together a list of how the support you or the person you support could change if your local authority uses their emergency powers under the Coronavirus Act:
Assessments of people’s care and support needs. There is no longer a duty on local authorities to carry out any needs assessments for adults (including adult carers), or a financial assessment of what people might be expected to pay towards their care.
Meeting care and support needs. The duty on local authorities to meet the needs of someone who is eligible for statutory support has been removed. However, there is still a duty to meet the needs of someone is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect, and to respect people’s human rights.
The Welsh Government has issued statutory guidance to local authorities on how to implement these changes. It also has the power to issue directions to ensure that any guidance is complied with.
The guidance says:
“[The changes] are time-limited and there to be used as infrequently as possible with the clear expectation that any changes to individuals’ care and / or support will be return to their pre-modification arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The guidance also sets out how local authorities are to inform the Welsh Government of any changes they make to their services. You can read the guidance here.
What about children’s social care?
The Coronavirus Act doesn’t make any changes to the existing laws on providing social care services for children. This means that local authorities and their partners should continue to meet their statutory duties under the Social Services and Well-being Act.
However, the Welsh Government has published some guidance to support local authorities and social care providers cope with increasing pressures during the coronavirus outbreak.
What we’re doing
We are committed to showing the Welsh Government the impact this has on autistic people and their families. We will keep speaking up so that people have their rights protected during this time. Please share your experiences, and any worries or concerns you have, with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last reviewed and updated on 26 August 2020
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