Will the Minister provide an update on plans to proceed with Action 32 of the Health and Social Care Workforce Strategy to commission a programme of work to understand the contribution of volunteers and carers to inform future workforce plans?
The joint Social Care Wales (SCW) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) workforce strategy was published in late 2020
https://heiw.nhs.wales/files/workforce-strategy/. It is an ambitious plan, due to be delivered over 10 years. There are 32 actions in the strategy, under seven themes; Action 32 is under the theme of workforce supply and shape.
Social Care Wales’s focus has been on priority action to support immediate service pressures including responding to Covid-19. In view of this, work to implement Action 32 has not yet commenced. Identification of the lead agency in Wales to take this forward will be progressed as part of implementation planning in Summer 2022.
During the pandemic, a collaboration of partners has developed and published a Framework for Volunteering in Health and Social Care published in 2021 to support the value of volunteering to be fully recognised and sustained, not just in respect of the emergency response that was experienced in 2020, but also the wider unique value that volunteering brings to health and social care. The framework is available here: Framework for Volunteering in Health and Social Care (wcva.cymru).
Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) has convened a number of learning events from January 2022 to share good practice that has been evidenced during the pandemic. For example, a session has taken place to look at the challenges and opportunities for volunteering in care homes and a report will be published to enable learning across Wales. Further events are planned including “Volunteering during the pandemic –getting the full picture” and “Volunteering beyond the pandemic - collaborative approaches.” As medium-term implementation plans for the workforce strategy are established during 2022, more detailed work to support Action 32 will be co-produced with a range of partners.
In addition to this, at the end of 2021 the Welsh Government allocated £300,000 per annum infrastructure grant funding for three years to the WCVA for third sector support of volunteering in health and social services.