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Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act came into force on 6 April 2016.

The Act provides the legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support, and carers who need support, and for transforming social services in Wales.

Read the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act.

You can also read the content of the Act by using the easy read version and young person’s summary.

The essentials document provides an overview of the Act and its wider legal framework.

You can also find information about the regulations and codes of practice and statutory guidance that support the Act.

Read the statement issued by the Minister for Health and Social Services on 1 April 2016 about the implementation of the Act.


The White Paper, Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action, published in 2011, highlighted a number of challenges faced by public services in Wales.

These included demographic changes, increased expectations from those who access care and support as well as continuing hard economic realities.

The Act aims to address these issues and in doing so will give people greater freedom to decide which services they need while promoting consistent, high-quality services across the country.

It will transform the way social services are delivered, promoting people’s independence to give them stronger voice and control.

You can find links to all the key primary legislation relating to social care in Wales on the Law Wales website.


The fundamental principles of the Act are:

Voice and control – putting the individual and their needs, at the centre of their care, and giving them a voice in, and control over reaching the outcomes that help them achieve well-being.

Prevention and early intervention – increasing preventative services within the community to minimise the escalation of critical need.

Well-being – supporting people to achieve their own well-being and measuring the success of care and support.

Co-production – encouraging individuals to become more involved in the design and delivery of services.

How the Bill became an Act

Follow the progress of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill, from when it was introduced to the National Assembly on 28 January 2013 to when it became an Act after receiving Royal Assent on 1 May 2014. Here, you can also find the Explanatory Memorandum, which provides a general explanation of the legislation, including all its different parts.

Children and young people

On 30 June 2015, the Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford issued a written statement detailing how the Act will meet the needs of children and young people.

In this video, filmed at the Family Justice Network Conference in Cardiff in January 2016, Ruth Henke QC gives a presentation on local authorities' responsibilities for looked after children under the Act.

Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.

You can find more information about the Act here, including links to a short film that explains the positive impact of the Act, an easy read and young people's version of the Act and an essentials document.

The Act and the NHS

Welsh Government issued a Welsh Health Circular in May 2016 that looked at the implications of the Act for NHS University Health Boards and Trusts.

Welsh Government issued an advice note in July 2017 looking at the implications of both the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 on partnership working within the NHS University Health Boards and Trusts.

First published: 29 March 2017
Last updated: 18 April 2024
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