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To regulate or not, that is the question…

04 September 2017
Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales

If you only entrust your boiler to be serviced by a regulated qualified gas engineer, would you prefer to leave the intimate care of your father, daughter or partner to a well-qualified regulated carer?  

Social Care Wales is currently consulting on our plans to regulate domiciliary care workers in Wales. 

Domiciliary care workers are paid to support people who need help to do the everyday things most of us take for granted, including washing, dressing, eating well, getting ready for the day and supporting health professionals with health-related tasks.  

This is part of Welsh Government’s and our own ambitions to raise the profile of those who are part of the social care workforce.  

We already regulate a significant number of workers, and believe this improves public safety and recognises the professional contribution workers make to providing care and support to people across Wales. 

We think the time is right to include domiciliary care workers on our Register of Social Care Workers, as more people with complex needs want their care provided in their own homes. 

Regulation sets standards for practitioners, including behaviours and the level of qualification and training expected for specific roles. This provides a clear framework for employers who are expected to support the training and development needs of their staff.  

At the moment, domiciliary care workers depend upon their employer to identify and support their training needs and, while most employers provide that support, there is an inconsistent approach across Wales.  

Regulation will provide certainty for workers – who often work alone and with relatively low pay –that they will be supported to meet regulatory requirements.

We are working with Qualifications Wales to update qualifications for social care workers to help them provide consistent safe and effective care. We are also developing a Code of Practice for Employers, which sets out their responsibilities.

If a social care worker is named on our Register, the public and employers can have confidence they have met the high standards of personal behaviour, technical competence and knowledge required for the role.  

Everyone on our Register has to re-register every three years so their skills and knowledge, as well as their physical and mental health, can be re-validated to make sure they are keeping up-to-date with best practice.  

Where there are concerns about a person who is registered with us, we work with employers to support improvement and will consider if they are fit to practise. 

If they are no longer fit to practise in their current role, we can restrict their practice or, if there are serious concerns, remove them from our Register. This would mean they would no longer be able to work in that type of role in Wales.  

Decisions to remove someone from our Register are not made lightly and we use an expert panel to consider cases referred to us. The panel is independent of us, which ensures everyone has a fair hearing. 

Most fitness to practise hearings are open to the public and our Register is available for inspection online. 

Our regulatory work provides us with insights into poor practice, which then informs our workforce development priorities. This means we can design new training modules to help the sector improve.  

There are excellent domiciliary care workers providing great care across Wales, but expectations are increasing for them to meet more complex needs.  
We believe regulation protects workers by clearly setting out standards and training requirements.  

We encourage you to support our ambition to recognise the importance of domiciliary care workers and to contribute to our consultation.