Broad Proposals in Our Social Services Bill Have a Real Consensus; Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, Gwenda Thomas, Outlines Proposals for the Future of Social Services

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 22, 2012 | Go to article overview

Broad Proposals in Our Social Services Bill Have a Real Consensus; Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, Gwenda Thomas, Outlines Proposals for the Future of Social Services


LAST week I published the summary of responses to the consultation on the Social Services (Wales) Bill which took place in the spring and early summer.

As you would expect, the responses have given us much to consider.

Over 500 people attended a range of public events across Wales, including vulnerable groups such as disabled and looked-after children, care leavers and young carers. In addition, 275 written responses to the consultation were received and have been analysed. The response has been extremely constructive and I have been pleased to find that there is a real consensus for our broad proposals to safeguard and protect. This level of public engagement is absolutely critical to the success of our plans.

As with any proposals for change some turbulence is inevitable. It is essential that people are allowed a proper opportunity to express their views before we get down to the hard work. It has been equally important to ensure that, when people have taken the time to engage, we listen very carefully to what they have had to say. Consultation and engagement are critical, and so is decision making.

The premise for this consultation was to gauge the opinions of the experts - these are the commissioners and providers of services from across the public, voluntary and independent sectors; the people that use these services; and the people that care for those that use them. Every comment has been carefully considered and those comments have been central in developing the draft Bill to this point.

I have always been clear that it is vital that we get this important piece of legislation right, and I'm pleased to see that there is a broad consensus for our transformation agenda of Sustainable Social Services and what we are trying to achieve through this draft Bill.

It was felt that the original working title of the Bill did not encapsulate the full range of partners and provisions that are included within my proposals. Therefore, we will in future be referring to the draft Bill by its revised working title of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill. …

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