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Transitional and longer-term implications of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill 2013

Report | October 2013

This report explores the key implementation issues that the Welsh Government, local authorities and the NHS may need to consider in particular as they look to work together to make the aspirations of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill 2013 a reality in the current climate.

The Bill presents a number of challenges to local partners including better integration, a `whole` local area approach and understanding the needs of, and meaningful engagement with the local population.

Successful implementation of the Bill will depend heavily on the interplay between well-being, prevention, assessment, eligibility and information and guidance if it is to achieve its aims and enable local partners to meet the challenges set out in Sustainable Social Services: a framework for action and Together for Health.

Without the implementation of the well-being agenda at the heart of the Bill, local partners will struggle to meet the demands placed on them through changing demographics and welfare reform.

The real costs of implementation will vary hugely from area to area depending on where each has got in terms of their local arrangements. Implementation will require a whole system change and it will take place in a period of significant increased demand and reduced resources due to demographic and economic factors. For most local areas implementation is unlikely to be cost-neutral although some have made significant progress and the Bill will simply provide the legislative underpinning for existing practice.

The Welsh Government will have a significant role in ensuring that developments across the country are co-ordinated, that local areas learn from each other and that resources are not wasted by being developed in parallel in different places unnecessarily.