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Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act received Royal Assent and became law on 18 January 2016.

Read the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act.

An easy read version of the Act is available to download as well as a summary of the Act for young people.

The Act builds on the success of regulation in Wales and places the quality of services and improvement at the heart of regulation. It strengthens protection for those who need it, establishes a regulatory system that is in-line with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and creates a regulatory system that is centred around people who need care and support, and the social care workforce.

The Act provides the statutory framework for the regulation and inspection of social care in Wales. It:

  • reforms the regulation of social care in Wales by placing people who receive care and support at its centre
  • reforms the regulation of the social care workforce
  • renames the Care Council for Wales and the Social Services Improvement Agency, Social Care Wales, giving them new powers from April 2017
  • reforms the inspection of local authority social services functions
  • provides a robust response to the lessons learned from previous failures in the system.


Five principles underpin the new system of regulation and inspection:

  • reflecting the changes brought about by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
  • putting people at the centre of their care and support
  • developing a coherent and consistent Welsh approach
  • tackling provider failure
  • responding quickly and effectively to new models of service and any concerns over the quality of care and support.

How the Bill became an Act

Follow the progress of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill, from when it was introduced in to the National Assembly on 23 February 2015 to when it became an Act after receiving Royal Assent on 18 January 2016. Here, you can also find the Explanatory Memorandum, which provides a general explanation of the legislation, including all its different parts.

Commencement Orders

The most recent Commencement Order in respect of the Act is the The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6, Savings and Transitional Provisions) Order 2019.

From 2 April 2018 this brings into effect the necessary provisions in Part 1 of the Act relating to the registration and regulation of care homes; secure accommodation; residential family centres and domiciliary support services in Wales.

Care Inspectorate Wales has published guidance for providers in respect of the registration of services under the Act.

Applications for registration will open from 1 February 2018.

The No. 5 Order also contains details of the four previous commencement orders:

  • No.1 brought sections 67, 68, 73(1) and (2) and 75 partially into force on 11 July 2016
  • No.2 brought section 185 and schedule 3 partially into force on 6 April 2016.
  • No.3 brought, with limited exceptions, Parts 2 to 10 of the Act into force on 3 April 2017. This brought into effect the new system of workforce regulation required by the Act. This concluded phase 1 of implementing the Act.
  • No.4 brought section 56(1) and (2) of the Act into effect from 4 September 2017. This inserted section 144A into the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, which deals with local authority annual reports on their social services functions.

A guidance note has been produced on the savings and transitional provisions within the No.3 order.

First published: 2 May 2017
Last updated: 25 September 2022
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