Social care assistance not consistent across Wales

The Auditor General for Wales has claimed that information, advice and assistance on adult social care is not consistently effective across Wales.

It is estimated that the number of people aged 65 and over who are unable to manage at least one domestic task on their own will rise by 46 per cent by 2035, with the proportion of the population predicted to have a limiting long-term illness also set to rise by nearly 20 per cent.

The new report found that local authorities are becoming more person-centred in their approaches to deliver social care, but there is much work still to be done to promote access to the front door to ensure that all those who may benefit from IAA services - those offering information, advice and assistance - receive it.

The wide variation in the availability, visibility, accessibility and quality of information provided by local authorities is resulting in inconsistent take up across Wales. Often, authorities do not know where gaps in provision lie and, without identifying and addressing these gaps, some authorities are still promoting traditional care packages and social services, encouraging dependency rather than promoting independence and self-reliance.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including: councils needing to map the availability of preventative services in their area to better understand current levels of provision and identify gaps and duplication; involving third sector partners in co-producing preventative solutions to meet people’s needs and ensure people have equitable access to these services; reviewing their current approaches, consider their audience, and ensure that good quality information is made available in a timely manner to avoid needs deteriorating and people presenting for assistance in ‘crisis’.

The Auditor General for Wales, also claims that the Welsh Government needs to improve carers’ awareness and understanding of their rights to be assessed for their own care and support needs.

Adrian Crompton the Auditor General for Wales, said: “With an ageing population, it’s good to see that social care is focusing much more on early intervention, preventative services and community-based support. But there’s still too much variation in the access and quality of services available across Wales. In particular, local authorities need to take stock on how they are implementing the legislation and to refocus their efforts on ensuing carers get equal access to the help they need and are entitled to.”