Welsh Government Guidance & Covid-19
On 30 April 2020 the Welsh Government issued formal guidance – see Adult social services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The guidance emphasises that the modifications permitted by the Coronavirus Act 2020 ‘should only be exercised as a last resort where this is essential in order to maintain the highest possible level of services. Local authorities should comply with the unmodified 2014 Act requirements and related Codes of Practice for as long and as far as possible’.
It goes on to state that:
These modifications are time-limited and there to be used as infrequently as possible with the clear expectation that any changes to individuals’ care and / or support will be return to their pre-modification arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity. Local authorities need to establish arrangements and communicate to those impacted how this will be achieved. The onus should not be on individuals or their families/carers to ensure that their care and support is restored
The guidance reiterates that the Ethical Framework issued by the Department of Health in England applies to Wales. It reminds authorities that they remain under a duty to ‘meet needs in order to protect a person from experiencing or being at risk of abuse or neglect’ as well as under the European Convention on Human Rights (and mentions in this regard the right to life under Article 2, the right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 3, the right to private and family life under Article 8 and the right to enjoy rights and freedoms without discrimination, under Article 14). It fails however to give examples of situations that would engage these rights.
On 21 April 2020 the Welsh Government issued formal guidance – see Children’s social services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike in England, the Welsh Government has not introduced any easements in relation to children’s services legislation and that the standards that are in place remain ‘both in terms of safeguarding arrangements but also ensuring the children’s rights are protected at a crucial time’.
The focus of the guidance is very much on child protection and looked after children (or children at risk of becoming looked after) and it is, for example silent on disabled children. To access a brief review of the guidance click here.
On 4 May 2020 the Welsh Government published a written statement on carers made by Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social.It states, among other things:
- This emergency legislation is not intended to weaken the rights of carers in Wales. I expect local authorities to maintain the rights provided under the 2014 Act. I know local authorities will do everything they can to maintain care and support during the pandemic.
- If any changes are made they must only be temporary, justifiable due to unavoidable local circumstances and they will be removed at the first available opportunity. If there are any changes to an individual’s care or support, it must return to their pre-modification arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity. We will keep any changes under review.
 For discussion on the Wales specific provisions in the Act click here.
 The a discussion about key aspects of the Framework click here (and then scroll down the posting).
Photograph of ‘Yr hen lesmeiriol baent’ by Richard Jones -@lluniaurich
Posted 8 May 2020