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Zahra Pabani
Zahra Pabani
Partner - Family Law
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PSL Essential Update: The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 – Consequential Amendments to Primary and Secondary Legislation
Date:20 APR 2016
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In a nutshell:

As family lawyers practising in Wales will be aware, the Social Services and Well-being  (Wales) Act 2014 came into force on 6 April 2016.

The Social  Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations  2016 and the Social  Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments)(Secondary  Legislation) Regulations 2014 which amend existing primary and secondary legislation as it applies to Wales have also now become available.

It has already been noted that the 2014 Act will have a drastic impact on the application of legislation such as the Children Act 1989 in Wales.  These regulations provide further information as to how existing legislation will be impacted by the 2014 Act in Wales.

When:

The regulations were implemented on 6 April 2016, although they have only just become available.

The Statutes and Statutory Instruments that make the changes:

The regulations are made under:

Section 198 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; and

Sections 195(6) and 201 of the Health and Social  Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003.

Summary of the  changes:

Social  Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Secondary Legislation) Regulations  2014:

The Regulations contain some provisions of importance to family lawyers practising in Wales, including amongst other things, repealing  Part III of the Children Act 1989 so that s 17 and s 20 are now dealt with under a separate legal framework in Wales.

Further provisions of note relate to the provision of care and support for adults and carers which applies only in relation to Wales. The amendments made in these Regulations will mean that the current community care legislation is repealed, or (to the extent that it continues to apply in relation to England) that it will no longer apply in relation to Wales but will continue to apply in relation to England.

Part 7 of the 2014 Act addresses safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children, including the establishment of Safeguarding Boards for adults and children, and these Regulations amend the Children Act 2004 to remove the current requirements for the establishment of Local Safeguarding Children Boards in Wales.

Part 8 of the 2014 Act contains provisions relating to social services functions, including specifying the social services functions of local authorities and providing for the intervention of Welsh ministers where the local authority is not considered to be exercising its social services function adequately.  These Regulations amend the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 so that it no longer applies in Wales.

Social  Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments)(Secondary  Legislation) Regulations 2014:

Schedule 3 is of particular relevance to family lawyers and makes the following amendments:

  • The Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008 is amended to cover, where applicable, the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 in addition to the Children Act 1989, and there are some further amendments to Schedule 2 of the fees order in relation to the definition of ‘excluded benefits’.
  • The Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991 are amended to disapply the provisions of those regulations in relation to Welsh children’s homes and the provision of secure accommodation in Wales.
  • The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Reviewed Case Referral) Regulations 2004 are disapplied so far as they apply in Wales and in relation to Welsh family proceedings officers.

As for transitional provisions, Schedule 4 notes that despite the revocation of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards (Wales) Regulations 2006 by these regulations, the 2006 regulations will continue to apply to child practice reviews which commenced but were not completed immediately before these regulations come into force, subject to requirements to provide reports and action plans to the National Independent Safeguarding Board required to be established under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

To Do:

This article provides a very brief overview of the contents of both sets of regulations but the regulations themselves, together with the 2014 Act, make vital reading for family lawyers practising in Wales.  Keep an eye on our website and Twitter as well as for regular legal updates on the divergence of legislation as it applies in England and in Wales.
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