|Food Policy, Devolution and Wales|
Page 6 of 8Local Health, Social Care and Wellbeing strategy regulations
No matter how good or well conceived a legislative process might be, the best yardstick to judge legislation is what it actually achieves. For example, one potentially important aspect of delivering food policy in Wales has been the use of regulation in respect of local Health, Social Care and Wellbeing strategy. Although the food policy aspect is still underdeveloped in the content of this legislation, overall our view is that the development of health, social care and wellbeing strategy represented exciting and innovative planning which seemed to herald an acceptance at the highest level of the importance of the wider determinants of health.
However, the development has been dogged from the outset by an apparent lack of commitment and understanding within Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). The original intention was to have an outline national HSCWB strategy, which would influence local strategies, but this was not delivered. In the event this did not stop local HSCWB partnerships producing some interesting first round strategies albeit heavily weighted towards health and social care and very light on wellbeing. But what we think was much more indicative of a lack of commitment and understanding was the complete lack of any attempt to analyse the first round of strategies and feed back the results to the local partnerships. It was as if the 22 sets of strategies went into a black hole at WAG level. And our impression is that the situation is no different so far with this second round of strategies and we await with interest an analysis being undertaken by WLGA.
Another concern is that there has been a failure to understand that the HSCWB strategy and the Community Strategy are two sides of one coin and are complementary, whereas having separate Children and Young Persons Frameworks and Community Safety Strategies undermines the integrative power of the HSCWB strategy / Community Strategy. This is now being further complicated by changes taking place in preparation for the new seven NHS Local Health Boards, which although well intended are causing bureaucratic muddle.
Finally, this legislation, in our view, also failed to understand the key potential health improvement role of food retailers and food service operators who have contact with three million Welsh citizens every week and that required changes can best be achieved through action at a UK level. For example, WFA are currently promoting a UK Older People's Food Charter - see attached - to develop a unified approach in both the public and private sectors to address growing malnutrition in an ageing society.
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