Prof Jane Noyes, Soo Vinnicombe – Bangor University
The Social Services and Well-being Act Wales 2014 is a legal framework which brings together and updates social services law. It also sets out what local authorities and health boards have to do to help people in need of care and support.
Under the Act, which came into force in 2016, local authorities and health boards must work together to assess care and support needs (and carer support needs) of the population in their area – in order to identify what services are needed.
The Act requires that local authorities and local health boards must prepare and publish area plans setting out:
- The range and level of services they propose to provide
- How the services will be provided
- What resources are needed to deliver the plan
- How they will monitor and evaluate services set out in the plan.
This report, which was carried out by the NCPHWR team at Bangor University, is the result of an analysis which took place between May and December 2018. The goal of this exercise was to use the local authority area plans to identify common pan-Wales priorities for social service needs which can be used to identify research gaps.
The research team:
- Located the reports
- Compared the themes covered in each report
- Analysed the texts to identify priority areas and gaps around social care and health needs which would be of interest to the NCPHWR.
The 22 Local Authorities in Wales worked in regional partnerships to produce seven sets of area plans, which covered the whole of Wales.
The two main areas of research for the NCPHWR are:
- Healthy Development – Children and Young People
- Healthy Ageing – Maintaining Health and Well-being & Vulnerable Adults
The team’s analysis looked at the Area Plans against the above themes.
The report identified under Healthy Development, the following priority themes:
- Adverse Childhood Experiences
- Looked after Children
- Mental Health
- Complex Needs
- Support for Families
- Welsh Language.
For Healthy Ageing, analysis is more complicated as the different plans have various ways of organising information about health and well-being challenges for adults. The format of this report broadly picks out the following priority themes from the population needs assessments:
- Older People
- Health and Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairment
- Learning Disability & Autism
- Mental Health
Priority areas identified for further research and exploration:
- Older People: Communities, Dementia Care, Social Isolation and Loneliness, Partnership Working, Care Homes, Information and Access to Services.
- Health and Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairment: General Promotion of Health and Wellbeing, Partnership and Integrated Working, Access to Services, Further Reviews, and Specific Health Issues.
- Learning Disability and Autism: Community, Independence and Control, Being Healthy and Safe, Strategy, Autism, and Transition.
- Mental Health: Prevention and Early Intervention, Treatment and Recovery, Children, Community, Strategy and Planning, and Integration.
- Carers: Support, Identification and Recognition, Engaging, Strategy.
Identifying gaps, and areas where more research or investigation is required, is essential to improving social care provision in Wales. Lack of information in these areas limits NHS and local government’s ability to understand the effectiveness of social services and to make informed decisions about how to shape and allocate resources for care and support.
NCPHWR recognises the importance of evidence based research and this report provides information and areas of research interest that will be of use to the ongoing strategic development and operation of the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research.