ADSS Cymru Annual Policy Seminar 2008
'Learning from our Neighbours'
The family and the community were high on the agenda at this year's ADSS Cymru Annual Policy Seminar. The event, held in mid Wales on November 27th and 28th 2008, was attended by almost 100 professional and political leaders from across the public, private, independent and academic sectors, who gathered together to look at policy developments that will contribute to the delivery of excellent social care services for our communities in Wales.
The theme of the event was 'learning from our neighbours' and delegates had the unique and refreshing opportunity to hear innovative examples of how social care services are delivered in England, Scotland and Sweden. ADSS Cymru worked closely with the European Social Network, who were present, in organising the event to ensure that delegates could maximise the opportunities for learning from European contributors.
Stewart Greenwell, President of ADSS Cymru said:
"I am delighted that colleagues from the UK and also representatives from the Swedish Association of Directors of Social Services were able to attend and offer such helpful insights. There is a lot Wales can learn from its neighbours and a lot that we can teach them too. We hope that this was the first day of the rest of our lives in terms of increasing our engagement with colleagues further a field".
Key topic issues such as personalisation, safeguarding children, the role of the Director of Social Services, and the social care workforce were discussed in depth, and contributions were given from a range of key organisations including Welsh Assembly Government, CSSIW, Care Council for Wales, and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
Stewart Greenwell, President of ADSS Cymru commented:
"It is clear that there is a strong determination to take forward personalisation in Wales, whilst recognising that it is not just about individualised budgets, but the way people are treated and how they have control and choice over the services that they use".
"It was also encouraging to hear from colleagues in England that partnership working and collaboration in Wales is a lot stronger. This is particularly important as ADSS Cymru believes collaboration is essential in delivering high quality social services in Wales."
Safeguarding children was a key issue for debate, particularly in light of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of the child in Haringey, known to the world as Baby P.
Phil Hodgson, Joint Lead for the ADSS Cymru Children and Young People Policy Group said: "it is important to remember that Baby P was in fact a person, who had a family, whose lives he undoubtedly touched, and should not be remembered as just a statistic".
The ADSS Cymru Heads of Children's Services Group importantly took some time to reflect on the case and a special meeting has been organised for January 2009 to review the effectiveness of safeguarding processes in Wales.
Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Social Services gave a key note speech at the seminar, and used it as an opportunity to officially launch the consultation on the Guidance on the role of the Statutory Director of Social Services.
Stewart Greenwell said "ADSS Cymru thoroughly welcomes this consultation and is particularly encouraged that the guidance comes with backing from not only the Minister for Health and Social Services, but also by the First Minister. It is important that the Director for Social Services is part of the top management team, to ensure increased accountability on councils for the delivery and performance of social services".
Gwenda Thomas AM also highlighted in her address that "collaboration must become a key characteristic of social services in Wales". ADSS Cymru and partners have taken this on board with the theme of the National Social Services Conference 2009 set as 'delivering the change...a shared responsibility'.
Key note speakers included:
· Gwenda Thomas, AM, Deputy Minister for Social Services, Welsh Assembly Government
· John Dixon, President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
· Stewart Greenwell, President, ADSS Cymru
· Neelam Bhardwaja, Vice President, ADSS Cymru
· Sam Newman, Director for Personalisation, OLM Group.
· Rhian Huws Williams, Chief Executive, Care Council for Wales
· Lotta Persson, Chair of the Swedish Association of Directors of Social Services
· Professor David Hawker, Director of DCELLS, Welsh Assembly Government
· Robert Pickford, Chief Inspector, Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
· Graham Williams, Director of Social Services, Welsh Assembly Government