Whilst each of the thematic reports identifies issues and challenges relevant to that user group, some of these are common across all parts of the population and require a generic response from the RPB and its constituent partners. These common issues and challenges are set out below.
Delivering Services in the Welsh Language
Being able to access Welsh language services is a desire for some people whilst for others it is a necessity and can play a key role in securing positive wellbeing outcomes. Particularly when they find themselves at a vulnerable point in their lives and potentially in need of care and support services, some people will find expressing and communicating needs in Welsh more natural than they would in English, particularly where Welsh is their first language and that through which they think and live their lives. Therefore, maximising the availability of services in Welsh needs to be a priority for local authorities, LHBs and other partners across health and social care and the wider public service. Failure to do so can mean that the basic needs of some of the population cannot be met.
Under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 the language has official status in Wales and as such should not be treated less favourably than the English language. The Measure establishes a legal framework placing a duty on organisations providing services to the public in Wales to meet specified standards in relation to:
- Delivery of services
- Policy making
- Internal operations
- Promotion of the Welsh Language; and
- Record keeping
Each LA in Wales has been issued with a compliance notice by the Welsh Language Commissioner setting out the Standards introduced by the measure that they are expected to meet. Councils are required to submit annual progress reports on how these standards are being met. Regulations creating the Standards for NHS Wales are likely to be passed by the National Assembly for Wales in late 2016/early 2017. From that point, the Welsh Language Commissioner will also have the right to serve compliance notices to NHS agencies.
Minority and marginalised groups
The Regional Community Cohesion Steering Group, comprising Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Powys and Pembrokeshire County Councils, is focusing on mainstreaming the seven outcomes of the Community Cohesion National Delivery Plan 2016-17 (Welsh Government, 2016b) into policies, strategies, partnerships and service delivery.
Prevention lies at the heart of the new arrangements for care and support envisaged within the SSWB Act. Specifically, Section 15 of the Act requires local authorities to provide or arrange for the provision of preventative services to prevent, delay or reduce need for care and support.
Safeguarding is a central theme in the SSWB Act. In the Act, one of the identified elements of wellbeing is protection from abuse and neglect. For children and young people this includes their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural development; and their welfare (ensuring they are kept safe from harm).
Promoting social enterprises, cooperatives, user led services and the third sector
The SSWB Act also places a strong emphasis on the role of social enterprises, cooperatives, user-led services and the third sector in providing care and support services. This will be key in delivering the Welsh Government’s policy for greater diversity in the delivery of public services and in empowering people and communities through a co-productive approach.