Friday, 5 February 2016

Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014

"For the past 25 years, social work with children and families across England and Wales has been grounded in the concept of children’s welfare. Amidst a growing awareness of human rights, and especially children’s rights, welfare and best interests remain a constant factor..."

"This common understanding looks set to change in April 2016, when the whole of Part III of the Children Act 1989 is to be repealed in Wales by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. While ‘welfare’ will remain the principle in court disputes, local authorities, when assessing and meeting the needs of children, are directed to do so according to the child’s ‘wellbeing’..."

"Wellbeing for a child is extended to include their physical, intellectual, emotional, social and behavioural developmental needs, in accordance with the views, wishes and feelings of the child and parents. But a child’s wellbeing also includes ‘welfare as that word is interpreted for the purposes of the Children Act 1989’."

"Much has been made in the media of children in the UK being low on UNICEF league tables of wellbeing. However the picture is complex. Morrow and Mayall described wellbeing as ‘conceptually muddy but pervasive’ and were doubtful about its application to children, especially if it came to replacing governments’ responsibilities for their welfare."

"In 2010, a research review by June Statham concluded that childhood wellbeing had a weak theoretical status, but that it seemed to be negatively associated with income inequality. All this leads one to wonder how much a social worker can do to contribute to children’s wellbeing."

On the other hand, in a 2012 case, called Re G:
"Munby LJ explains there is no difference between the notion of welfare and best interests. He recognises that welfare is a broad concept that "extends to and embraces everything that relates to the child’s development as a human being and to the child’s present and future life as a human being". This means that: "Evaluating a child’s best interests involves a welfare appraisal in the widest sense, taking into account, where appropriate, a wide range of ethical, social, moral, religious, cultural, emotional and welfare considerations. Everything that conduces to a child’s welfare and happiness or relates to the child’s development and present and future life as a human being, including the child’s familial, educational and social environment, and the child’s social, cultural, ethnic and religious community, is potentially relevant and has, where appropriate, to be taken into account. The judge must adopt a holistic approach."

They are getting dangerously close to the Scottish model.


  1. Even closer...

    "The fact that wellbeing is not measurable means no study can be used to assess the effectiveness, for service users or service providers, of such government-backed and local authority-devised interventions. Ministers need to take the lead and more accurately define what they mean by wellbeing, or use more rigorous and tested tools such as the quality of life measurements."

    Cue Shanarri's Welsh cousin?

  2. From Scottish cousin:

    " Understanding the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014."

    Safe Healthy Achieving Nurtured Active Respected Responsible Included

    "The words can be used to find out where a child’s strengths lie and also – if there are concerns – to see where some help or support might be needed."

    However - no study can be used to assess the effectiveness of the help or support provided to service users, because wellbeing can`t be measured.

  3. Agreeing very easly with the fact that the Word wellbeing is simply not a word to be used in a Law or act of Parliment .