Council leader addresses social services conference
Posted on: Tuesday 24 November 2020
Bridgend County Borough Council’s leader Huw David has addressed directors of social care about the future of services in Wales.
Speaking at the National Social Care Digital Conference, Cllr David, who is WLGA spokesperson for health and social care, told the Association of Directors of Social Services that the Covid-19 pandemic had shone a spotlight on the vital role social care plays in our communities.
He said: “Social care staff have been on the frontline throughout the crisis, doing an incredible job in extremely challenging circumstances to protect those they care for. It has really showcased the commitment, passion and dedication of social care staff up and down the nation, as well as the innovation of people who are directing their own care and support and everyone’s ability to adapt so well and so quickly to an unprecedented situation.”
Cllr David told the conference that inadequate funding is holding the sector back. He said: “The debate around paying for care in Wales is ongoing with the discussions to date focussing on better reward and recognition of the social care workforce – this is essential and fully supported, but there also remains a need to consider how the challenge of the additional demands being placed on social care services at a time of reducing resources can be overcome.
“This underlines the need for a fair and long-term funding settlement for social care to be set out as a priority.”
The council leader said that in the future, social care should be community-based and take a ‘whole-person’ approach, addressing people’s physical health, mental health and social needs together.
He said this approach should not just “be the preserve of social care and support alone” with a need for the right kind of housing to help people remain independent, leisure and recreation facilities to encourage physical activity, safe and inclusive communities to support residents’ mental wellbeing, and reliable transport links and comprehensive employment services to combat loneliness.
Cllr David told the conference, which took place on 19-20 November: “There remains a need for us to preserve a social care system which is led, commissioned and delivered close to local communities, enabling decisions taken about funding to be made with local people, meaning that what is commissioned is what really matters to people.
“The workforce will of course be fundamental to the delivery of this. It is heartening to see social workers and social care workers now being more regularly recognised by all parts of society. But as welcome as claps and offers of free goods and services from retailers are, they are no substitute for proper pay and conditions and a pathway to progress within a professionalised career sector. There must be an ambition and the resources made available pay the Real Living Wage for the whole social care sector as a minimum.”