“Getting Social Businesses in on the Act” – Part 3 of 7

6. Where to get in on the Act 1: The population assessment

The purpose of the population assessment is to identify the range and level of services required to meet and prevent the care and support needs of the population, and the support needs of carers. The assessment must also identify:

  • Extent to which those needs are not being met
  • Range and level of services required to meet those needs
  • Range and level of services required to deliver the preventative services required in section 15 of the Act (see above)
  • How these services will be delivered through the medium of Welsh.

It is a forward looking assessment, considering people’s needs for the whole period until the next report is due, comprising two sections; the assessment of need and the range and level of services required. It needs to pay attention to the performance measurements that are part of the National Outcomes Well-being Framework. The Well-being Outcome Indicators are the performance measurements that will evidence the desired shift in service provision to support people to remain in their community.

This section of the Act is known as the Population Assessment and this where co-production starts. Involvement of people should happen at all stages of the design and operation of services. This is set out in Section 14 of the Act – Assessment of needs for care and support, support for carers and preventative services.

The Population Assessment will inform local authorities in meeting the requirement contained within Section 16 to promote social enterprises, co-operatives, user led services and the third sector by identifying the care and support and preventative services the alternative service model can provide.

The population report must be produced by April 2017, but it will likely be produced sooner as it will inform wider integrated planning. The requirement on local authorities to provide / arrange preventative services was brought into force in April 2016. The diagram sets out the population assessment process.

SSWB diagram 1

The message for social businesses is to help local authorities and local health boards be innovative in how they identify local data sources, research and statistics to contribute to the population assessment. Both quantitative and qualitative data is essential in providing an opportunity for social businesses to offer their data on their social impact, case studies demonstrating the impact of their social objectives on individuals and the community and how their services work towards securing a person’s well-being. The contribution of social businesses as stakeholders is integral to a meaningful and informed assessment. In sum, effective engagement has to be mutually beneficial in delivering the new Act!

Social businesses should offer their help / assistance to undertake the population assessment by offering a representative of the local social business network to engage directly with local authorities and local health boards mostly through their emerging Regional Partnership Boards. This would establish an early consortium of social businesses for this purpose and one that can be further developed to tender for contracts and commissions.

Alternatively, your local social businesses could establish a network and put forward a representative to secure a seat on a ‘servicer –user’ or citizen panel which are likely to continue their engagement with local statutory bodies as their do now.

7. Where to get in on the Act II: The importance of preventative services

Below is a crude but functional illustration of one of the best route for social businesses to get in on the Act

SSWB diagram 2 Eng

Prevention drives the Welsh Government’s radical programme to change care and support services in the Act. The focus on prevention and early intervention aims to make future social service provisions sustainable to the public purse and to achieve this demands a strategic approach from local authorities, local health boards and their partners, including social businesses, to preventative services.

In section 15 of the Act, Preventative services are places with local authorities which have a duty to provide a range and level of preventative services to achieve purposes that include contributing towards preventing or delaying the development of people’s needs for care and support and reducing people’s need for care and support amongst those who use services. The increased focus on early intervention and prevention requires recognition of resources already in place in the community.

The Code of Practice on Part 2 of the Act[i] (visit the Care Council for Wales ‘Information and Learning Hub’ for the Social Services and Well-being Act for all the published Code of Practices) correctly states that there is no definition for what constitutes preventative activity as it can be a range of services aimed at a whole population to those targeted at individuals. Examples of low level preventative services are social skills support, developing life skills and befriending.

Local authorities should work collaboratively with a wide range of partners to develop and deliver a necessary range and level of preventative services. The third sector is seen as a suitable partner to effectively provide early intervention / preventative activities. Welsh Government considers social businesses a ‘valuable resource’.

Another big message to local authorities and their expected social business partners is that services preventing people’s care and support, or delaying the need, are to be closely aligned with other services including housing, leisure and lifelong education.

The social business model strength is that it focuses not just on one aspect of a person’s need but works in a holistic way taking a whole person approach to well-being as it is determined by a complex interrelated web of needs.

Visit ‘Everyone’s Business’ tomorrow for a third route into the Act via a partnership approach and direct contact with the Regional Implementation Managers for the emerging Regional Partnership Boards.

[i] Care Council for Wales “Getting in on the Act” http://www.ccwales.org.uk/codes-of-practice-and-statutory-guidance/


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