24 May 2019

On 23 May, Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services, opened a national conference on the role of the third sector in delivering Welsh Government’s ambitious vision for integrated health and social care across Wales, A Healthier Wales.

VG healthier wales

The Minister said: 'The First Minister, myself, and my cabinet colleagues have all put on record many times the value that we place on the third sector as an absolutely key partner - not just for the important role you play in representing and supporting some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens, and not just for the role you play in challenging us and holding us to account as a government, but also for the support you provide both in the development of, and - increasingly over the past 20 years of devolution - in the delivery of, Welsh Government policy across a range of areas.' 

'Business as usual' not an option

Attended by 145 people, the purpose of the conference was to open up a cross-sector discussion about how to maximise the third sector's contribution to 'A Healthier Wales'.

The third sector is written into the fabric of the new strategy, which places the paid and unpaid workforce and carers on an equal footing with the public sector. New approaches to implementation make clear Welsh Government's vision for a transformational approach - for example, the statutory involvement of third sector members on the seven Regional Partnership Boards, and the requirement for a minimum of 20% of the Integrated Care Fund revenue funding to be allocated to support social value organisations.

jude healthier wales

Ruth Marks, WCVA Chief Executive, chaired the conference and said: 'By co-hosting this conference with WCVA, Welsh Government is making clear that 'business as usual' is not an option and the third sector is rightly credited as vital to the health and social care infrastructure in Wales. With over 10% of third sector organisations in Wales active in the field of health and social care, and the sector accounting for the highest rates of paid employment by sector, we are already working on a daily basis alongside public sector health and care professionals, contributing our unique social values base of working co-productively with people to meet their individual needs in the most rounded way possible.'

The conference heard from third sector colleagues who are involved in the influential Regional Partnership Boards about the challenges and opportunities they foresee, and Social Care Wales provided information on the new health and social care workforce strategy. Workshops were designed around the ten national design principles to drive change and transformation inA Healthier Wales, sharing information and ideas to strengthen the personal and professional relationships that are critical success factors, and showcasing third sector good practice in social prescribing, volunteering, social value forums, self-management of chronic conditions and co-production.  

Key messages about how third sector involvement in health and social care can be supported and promoted were captured from each workshop. This feedback is being analysed following the conference.