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Age Cymru's Policy Advisor Amy Clifton provides a response to recommendations made today (18 July 2013) by the National Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee about the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill.
Age Cymru very much welcome the Health and Social Care Committee’s Stage 1 report on the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.
We are pleased to see the Committee has taken on board many of the points we raised in our evidence.
We particularly welcome the Committee’s agreement that the definition of an adult at risk of abuse is currently too narrow in the Bill, and their recommendation that the Deputy Minister considers an alternative definition, and extends it to include the important issue of coercive control that can occur in abuse situations.
We also welcome the Committee’s support for the need for safeguarding powers in the Bill to go further to include removal powers for the rare circumstances in which they may be needed to protect an individual from harm.
The report also states that the Committee agrees that statutory principles should be included on the face of the Bill, to assist practitioners and service users in understanding its ethos, and help achieve the aim of giving people a stronger voice and greater control over services.
Age Cymru agrees that the recommended statutory principles such as involving the person throughout the process, and providing appropriate support to enable them to participate, will help to achieve this along with access to independent advocacy for those who need it.
The Committee has recommended that the Deputy Minister provides detail on who will be entitled to receive independent advocacy is provided before the start of Stage 2 – we agree that further clarity is urgently required.
The Committee also recognises that housing is an important contributing factor to well-being and recommend that it be included in this section of the Bill which is something we called for in our evidence.
Other recommendations on eligibility are also positive – as the Committee rightly states, eligibility is central to the success of the Bill, therefore they recommend that regulations relating to eligibility criteria are subject to robust scrutiny with a super affirmative procedure.
It also states that those currently in receipt of services should not find themselves worse off under new arrangements – we very much support both points.
The Committee report provides many positive recommendations which we feel will strengthen and improve the Bill, we now look forward to the Welsh Government’s response.
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