Adult Social Care – Law Commission Consultation Paper No. 192

The Alliance submitted a detailed response to this Law Commission consultation in June 2010 arguing against the proposal for a single England and Wales statute, suggesting a separate statute for Wales. The Alliance believes that the Law Commission is inadvertently taking a short term view on the devolution settlement without considering what will happen in the next 12 months. As the report states, the differences are not currently that great, but the main reason for this, is the current slow process of devolving power to the National Assembly for Wales under Schedule 5 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. The limited nature of the current devolution settlement makes it very difficult for the Welsh Government to introduce substantial legislation covering a one area. For example, even after most elements relating to social care charges were devolved in 2008 and 2009, the Welsh Government would not have been able to introduce new legislation to replace the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, because the National Assembly for Wales did not have the legislative competence in this area. Instead the Social Care Charges (Wales) Measure 2010 made changes to England and Wales legislation creating further confusion for services users, rather putting them on a Welsh statute. There is a compelling argument that the differences in English and Welsh Social Care Law would be significantly greater if Welsh politicians and lawyers were not constrained by the current system. Whilst the consultation paper illustrates that the Law Commission are trying to “future proof” the proposed statute, so that it can be the basis of further social care law in the future, it would seem that little attention has been paid to future-proofing this legislation for Wales. The National Assembly for Wales has requested a referendum on further law making powers, which will take place in 2011. If successful, the National Assembly for Wales will have full competence in the area of social care, and even if the referendum fails, the assumption behind the Government of Wales Act 2006 was always that Wales would move to these powers eventually. You can download a copy of the Alliance’s full response at… Law Commission consultation on adult social care Wales Neurological Alliance briefing – April 2010