Social Services Bill Can Finally End Postcode Lottery in Care; but Councils Must Co-Operate Says Homes Boss

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Byline: TOM BODDEN

CARE providers in North Wales believe a radical shake-up in social services unveiled yesterday spells the end of a postcode lottery for the frail and elderly. Care Forum Wales, which represents 500 independent providers, said new legislation could ensure people receive the care they need regardless of where they live.

But chair of the organisation Mario Kreft, who runs a care home in Wrexham, said the Social Services (Wales) Bill was a historic opportunity that could be squandered unless councils are prepared to work in partnership.

The proposed Bill gives people greater freedom to decide which services they need while offering consistent, high-quality services across the country.

Welsh Ministers could extend the range of services available by direct payments and ensure people are assessed on what they need, rather than just on the services available locally.

Opportunity: Mario Kreft Portable assessments would mean people's needs wouldn''t need to be re-assessed if they moved to a different area to live.

Councils would provide information to carers on their rights and the services available to them locally.

The Bill also proposes a national adoption service and steps to reinforce the role of the Public Services Ombudsman.

Mr Kreft said: "We have been campaigning for many of these initiatives since Care Forum Wales was established 19 years ago. We certainly welcome this radical Bill and if we together seize the opportunity to focus our efforts this could be a historic achievement. …